Los Angeles Times

Man held in attack aboard plane

Stabbing suspect tried to open a door during the LAX-to-Boston flight, authoritie­s say.

- By Dakota Smith

A man tried to open an emergency exit door and stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon on a Los Angeles-to-Boston flight Sunday, prosecutor­s said.

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was arrested Sunday at Boston Logan Internatio­nal Airport, the Department of Justice said in a statement Monday.

Torres, of Leominster, Mass., was charged with one count of interferen­ce and attempted interferen­ce with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.

The alleged incident took place on United Airlines Flight 2609, which left Sunday morning from Los Angeles Internatio­nal Airport.

About 45 minutes before landing in Boston, flight crew were notified that one of the plane’s door was disarmed, according to a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Massachuse­tts.

The starboard side door’s locking handle had been moved out of the locked position, and an emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the “disarmed” position, according to prosecutor­s.

Torres was seen around the door, prosecutor­s said, and a flight attendant confronted him. Torres asked the flight attendant if a camera had captured him tampering with the door, according to the complaint.

Then, Torres got out of his seat, and “thrust towards one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion.” He hit the attendant on the neck three times, prosecutor­s said.

Passengers tackled Torres and helped restrain him. “Torres was immediatel­y taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival to Boston,” prosecutor­s said.

Torres told police he went into the bathroom and broke a spoon in half to make a weapon, according to the complaint. He also said that he disarmed the door.

He told police that he had the idea of jumping out of the plane and acknowledg­ed that many people would die if he opened the plane door, according to the complaint.

A message left for Torres’ public defender wasn’t immediatel­y returned.

In a statement Monday, United praised the “quick action of our crew and customers” and said the company was working with law enforcemen­t.

“No serious injuries were reported,” the statement read. “We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights.”

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