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Man charged with trying to open a door on a flight to Boston and then trying to stab a flight attendant

Passengers on a United flight from Los Angeles to Boston tackled a Fitchburg man yesterday after he tried to open an emergency door, then tried to stab a flight attendant with a metal spoon he'd fashioned into a weapon shortly before the plane was about to begin its descent towards Logan, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was hauled off Flight 2609 at Logan Airport by state troopers and detained overnight at their Logan barracks.

At his initial appearance in US District Court today, charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum possible sentence of life. A magistrate judge ordered him held at least until a hearing on Thursday.

About 45 minutes before landing, an alarm went off in the cockpit than an emergency door on the right side of the plane between first class and economy had been "disarmed," according to an affidavit filed by Boston Police detective Thomas Menino, Jr., currently on detail to the FBI.

A flight attendant took a look and found the door's handle had been moved out of the fully locked position about a quarter of the way and that the the mechanism for releasing an emergency slide was also no longer locked fully in place She re-locked both and alerted the captain - who flight attendants to try to investigate. One reported that he had seen Torres, in row 20, near the exit, near the door and believed he had tampered with it.

FA1 (one of the flight attendants) then approached TORRES and confronted him about tampering with the door. TORRES asked FA1 if there were cameras showing that he had tampered with the door. FA1 then returned to galley 2 and notified the Captain that he felt TORRES posed a threat to the aircraft and that the Captain needed to land the aircraft as soon as possible. ...

Shortly thereafter, TORRES got out of his seat and approached galley 2 where both FA1 and FA5 were located. FA1 and FA5 were standing in the aisle. FA5 saw TORRES mouthing something that he could not hear. TORRES had a shiny object in his right hand. When TORRES got close to FA5 he thrust the shiny object at FA5 with a stabbing motion. FA5 felt the object in TORRESS' hand hit him on his shirt collar and tie three times. Passengers tackled TORRES to the ground and he was restrained with the assistance of flight crew.

The detective interviewed passengers:

Passenger 1 was seated in seat 7C. Passenger 1 saw TORRES come out of the bathroom at galley 2 and start pacing back and forth in galley number 2. TORRES then returned to his seat. Later, Passenger 1 saw TORRES with something shiny in his right hand. During the confrontation described above, Passenger 1 observed that TORRES threw a punch at FA5 with his left hand and made a motion toward FA5's neck with his right hand.

Passenger 2 was seated in seat 20D, next to TORRES. During the flight attendants' safety briefing prior to takeoff, TORRES asked Passenger 2 where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located. Passenger 2 did not know the answer to TORRES's question.

Passenger 3 was seated behind TORRES in seat 21E. Passenger 3 observed FA1 confront TORRES about tampering with the door. TORRES grew agitated. When TORRES later got up from his seat, Passenger 3 followed him. Passenger 3 observed TORRES try to stab FA5.

Passenger 3 took TORRES down to the floor and restrained him with the help of fellow passengers.

Menino writes he also interviewed Torres and that, after being read his Miranda rights, he talked:

TORRES told investigators that he went into the bathroom on the plane and broke a spoon in half to make a weapon. When he came out of the bathroom TORRES went into the galley, disarmed the door, and tried to open it unsuccessfully. TORRES had gotten the idea to open the emergency exit door and jump out of the plane. TORRES admitted to knowing that if he opened the door many people would die. TORRES stated that soon after that attempt, he was confronted by a couple of flight attendants. TORRES advised that to defend himself, he tried to stab one of the flight attendants in the neck three or four times. TORRES stated that he believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him, so he was trying to kill the flight attendant first.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Passenger 3 followed him. Passenger 3 observed TORRES try to stab FA5.

Passenger 3 took TORRES down to the floor and restrained him with the help of fellow passengers.

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people would die"

Pssst, FBI, US Atty's Office, or whoever wrote the complaint - that wasn't really an "admission" of much of anything, since his alleged "knowledge" was anything but.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/plane-door-ba-flight-science

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..."TORRES admitted to thinking..." rather than "...admitted to knowing," but I imagine his state of mind and intent are more important than his knowledge of physics, legally speaking.

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He admitted to knowing that IF he opened the door, many people would die. He didn't know that he couldn't open the door, and guess what, that doesn't matter.

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..."I knew that if I opened the door people would die. I also knew I wouldn't be able to open the door, so I had no intent to kill or injure anyone." Depending on what they charge him with, state of mind, intent, motive would matter quite a bit.

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But at that point the burden of proof is on him, no? He already stated that he knew people would die if he could open the door. It seems pretty obvious to anyone who wasn't born last night that he didn't know that he couldn't open it, and that his intention was to do so. So, if he knew he couldn't open it, why did he disarm the door, why did he unlock the slide, and why did he do all that and then go get a spoon to stab someone with?

Whatever contortions some lawyer is going to go through in an effort to save his ass -- and it ought to be quite amusing -- no jury on earth will buy it.

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...whatever they call a terrorism charge ("I just wanted to scare people!") would be a slam dunk, and probably a worse sentence if convicted. But I bet they argue he was mentally impaired, alcohol or drugs or MAGA. I agree though...I expect he will get slammed by a jury if it gets that far.

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What is being debated in this thread? He's NOT being charged with attempted murder or terrorism related crimes at this point.

He is charged with

one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon

This is a very serious crime in the eyes of the law.

49 U.S. Code § 46504 - Interference with flight crew members and attendants

An individual on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States who, by assaulting or intimidating a flight crew member or flight attendant of the aircraft, interferes with the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. However, if a dangerous weapon is used in assaulting or intimidating the member or attendant, the individual shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1244; Pub. L. 107–56, title VIII, § 811(i), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 382.)

Based on the facts alleged by the government, it certainly seems like that crime was committed. Other crimes may have been too, but charges haven't been brought for those at this time, as best I can tell.

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Deserves the Bronson Award for Bravery

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Oh, no, wait, that got swept under the rug.

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TORRES admitted to knowing that if he opened the door many people would die.

TORRES admitted to knowing nothing about how airplanes work, since the cabin pressure makes it impossible to open the door during flight. They should have just let him try for a while. (TORRES must be a graduate of Midvale School for the Gifted)

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Just really really unlikely on most aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._B._Cooper

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The whole reason most experts think Cooper is dead (ignoring that he'd be ancient at this point) is because the plane was flying super low when he jumped out.

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Because it’s dull you bloody twit, it’ll hurt more!!!

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Uh... is he...?

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Yes, he is.

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Let this be a reminder. That door should have been guarded to being with. More people like Torres slipping through the cracks (no pun intended) around us every day. Everyone's fallen asleep since 911 in the Covid Age .

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Guarded by whom?

Are you aware of how many emergency exits there are on the average commercial jet?

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It seems like air travel has become a version of riding the T, albeit a more expensive version.

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NewsCenter 7 at 9:00 pm last night showed footage of him threatening to kill every man on the plane. I wonder why he was so specific?

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duplicate

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