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Breaking News: Passenger shot by air marshal in Miami

An air marshal aboard American Airlines Flight 924 from Medellin, Colombia to Miami has shot a passenger who alleged claimed to have a bomb and tried to flee from the plane on to the jet way.

More details as they develop...

Here's a CNN story on the incident.

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A person was shot and wounded on the Jetway to an American Airlines passenger jet that was at the terminal at Miami International Airport, an airline official said.

A federal official told CNN that the passenger was shot by a federal air marshal, who felt the passenger was acting in a threatening manner. A senior administration official added that the passenger claimed to have a bomb in his carry-on luggage.

An air marshal told the passenger to stop, and he did not, the official said, adding that the marshal fired after the passenger reached into his carry-on bag.

The weapon was fired on the Jetway to Flight 924, which was on a stopover in Miami during a flight from Medellin, Colombia, to Orlando, Florida, police said.

Kevin adds: AP is report that the suspect was killed.
MIAMI (AP) - An agitated passenger who claimed to have a bomb in his backpack was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday after he bolted frantically from a jetliner that was boarding for takeoff, officials said. No bomb was found.

It was the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks that an air marshal had shot at anyone, Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Doyle said. Another federal official said there was no apparent link to terrorism.

According to a witness, the passenger ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757, flailing his arms, while his wife tried to explain that he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication.

The passenger, identified as Rigoberto Alpizar, indicated there was a bomb in his bag and was confronted by air marshals but ran off the aircraft, Doyle said. The marshals went after him and ordered him to get down on the ground, but he did not comply and was shot when he apparently reached into the bag, Doyle said.

Alpizar, a 44-year-old U.S. citizen, was gunned down on a jetway outside the American Airlines plane, which was parked at a gate at Miami International Airport. Alpizar had arrived earlier in the day from Quito, Ecuador, and Flight 924 was going to Orlando, near his home in Maitland.

Given what's know about the situation, and what we learned about anti-terrorism "shoot to kill" directives following the London subway bombings, it appears the air marshal acted prudently in a difficult situation. Hindsight is 20/20, and all sorts of people will probably form a line to vilify the unknown air marshal, but there's 118 passengers and crew on the flight who are probably glad they didn't have to find out whether or not he really had a bomb.


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Comments (48)

Anybody taking odds as to w... (Below threshold)
George:

Anybody taking odds as to whether or not the
culprit is a Muslim?

2:5... (Below threshold)

2:5

Score it."Just sli... (Below threshold)

Score it.

"Just slide the metal tab in until it snaps, then pull the strap until the body is securely fastened to the gurney..."

Latest word is he was an Am... (Below threshold)

Latest word is he was an American citizen - most likely just some deranged ex-idiot.

Gun control means hitting your target.

"... most likely just some ... (Below threshold)
Joe L.:

"... most likely just some deranged ex-idiot."

_____________

That should be "some ex-deranged ex-idiot"

He's pretty much 'ex-" everthing now.

"A person was shot and w... (Below threshold)
jody:

"A person was shot and wounded on the Jetway"

Joe, Bruce: At least from the reports I've read (and highlighted just above), the idiot is still alive and kicking.

Terminated :-)Nice... (Below threshold)
Ron:

Terminated :-)

Nice shot by Air Marshal's

Supposedly bi-polar subject. Damn it's a bitch when you forget to take your meds.

Andy Cochran at Counterterrorism Blog:

Link

now covering as well as Michell Malkin and The Moderate Voice.

Here and Here

Apparently he is an ex-idio... (Below threshold)
Jody:

Apparently he is an ex-idiot.

Passenger killed by air marshall.

I feel better about our air... (Below threshold)
edmcgon:

I feel better about our air safety today.

The moonbats will be out in... (Below threshold)
JD:

The moonbats will be out in force on this one - Bu$hHitlerChimpyMcHalliburton and their minions are engaging in free fire zones in public airports, killing off mentally disturbed people at random. Just watch ...

George you are completely w... (Below threshold)
Wowzer:

George you are completely wrong - Ha!

Nice Ron, that's really nice.

I must say though that I feel better about our air saftey too now. Just like I felt a lot safer on the London underground after they shot an unarmed man five times at point-blank range AFTER they had wrestled him to the ground.

Yes, in some cases shoot first, ask questions later is the only way to go. However, I'd wager this was not one of them. In fact this was a massive F-up if you ask me. If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble.

If Air Marshalls can't t... (Below threshold)
joe:

If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble.

And, of course, you would have handled it differently with your superior wisdom, right?

If Air Marshalls can't t... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble.

Hundreds of people are about to possibly die and you have 1/2 second to act. Tell me what are the tell-tale signs between someone who's bi-polar from a terrorist from a terrorist who acting bi-polar from someone who is bi-polar and does have a weapon.

If Air Marshalls can't t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble.

If he really had a bomb he obviously would have been carrying the red, "terrorist" boarding pass, right wowzer? Sorry, this is not at all like the London subway shooting, where they chased a man into a train and killed him before he even knew what was going on. This was a man(?) who said he had a bomb in his bag, then ran from the marshalls, then stopped and reached into his bag. What should the air marshalls do, wait to see if the bomb is real? From what I've read they performed exactly as they should.

"I must say though that I f... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"I must say though that I feel better about our air saftey too now."

Oh, I do too. Just recently Congress cut funding for Air Marshalls. And we've all seen the grades from the 9/11 commission. A+.

"The moonbats will be out i... (Below threshold)
Chris:

"The moonbats will be out in force on this one - Bu$hHitlerChimpyMcHalliburton and their minions are engaging in free fire zones in public airports, killing off mentally disturbed people at random. Just watch ..."

OK, I'm watching. Please provide the links, and not all at once, we don't want to crash the server. Since it was the Democrats who have led the way in homeland security, I think you might be a little disappointed.

Anybody taking odds as t... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Anybody taking odds as to whether or not the
culprit is a Muslim?

Looks like you lose this time George. Way to stick to the stereotypes though...

Why not just wait until the facts are in, instead of pulling out the accusations without justification?

wowzer wrote:

In fact this was a massive F-up if you ask me. If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble.

I agree with Mantis. It sounds to me like the air marshalls did exactly what they should have done. You have some guy claiming to have a bomb, and a fraction of a second to decide between him and all the people nearby. This is no time to be coming down on those guys...they did what they had to do.

The man was apparetnly trum... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

The man was apparetnly trumpeting the fact that he had a bomb in his carry-on bag, and then refused to stop when ordered to, and instead reached back into his bag.

Whether he was an Islamist terrorist or a bi-polar nutcase off his meds doesn't really matter much. The Air Marshal did exactly as he was supposed to.

The next one will hopefully think twice about discussing bombs in airports, or not stopping when ordered to do so. End of Story.

Aw shucks! When I read the... (Below threshold)

Aw shucks! When I read the post headline "Breaking News", I thought that Wizbang was finally going to post the winners of the last Weekend Caption Contest.

In hostilities, it is the i... (Below threshold)
freeman:

In hostilities, it is the idiots and the nuts who pay the price first.

Suicide-by-cop just got ele... (Below threshold)

Suicide-by-cop just got elevated a few levels.

Sounds like the Air Marshal... (Below threshold)
bob jones:

Sounds like the Air Marshall cured this guy's bi-polar problems if you ask me. I feel much safer and I'm glad to hear these guys shoot to kill when they draw their weapons. Now, just a couple more bi-polars to cure and the skies will be free from idiots and ragheads who want to kill us.

"The good of the many, outw... (Below threshold)
ozone64:

"The good of the many, outweighs the good of the few or one"

Seems like this quote from Spock in Star Trek IV put this in perspective and IMHO will show people that the government is actually doing there job when it comes to cracking down on potential hijackers.

Way to go Air Marshal

I'm not going to leap to Mu... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

I'm not going to leap to Muslim. The phrase "suicide by cop" cmes to mind, though.

--|PW|--

See a Candian satirical vie... (Below threshold)
Duke:

See a Candian satirical view of this event at
http://dukemcgoo.blogspot.com
if you dare

Ozone,Spock also s... (Below threshold)
Duke:

Ozone,

Spock also said "no one can guarantee the actions of another"

Damn, well thats life, mayb... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Damn, well thats life, maybe he should of flown in the first place with his medical issues.

Byw..Not all muslims are the same, juts be worried about islamic extremist


opp's what i ment to say is... (Below threshold)
mark:

opp's what i ment to say is he shound't of flown in the first place

Seems to me this should be ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Seems to me this should be filed under "duh". Does anyone really dispute this was the proper action in the circumstances?

That is, given the infinitely idiotic rules that our politically correct nation hamstrings our law enforcement folks with. Who in hell decided we can't do ethnic and racial profiling to identify fundamentalist Islamic threats? A nanosecond computer analysis of the passengers would have ruled this guy out as a bad guy. Why can't we do it? Oh no, we must have granny removing her shoes. I suppose the next step is to shoot my white haired granny if her hearing aid is low.

If there had actually been ... (Below threshold)
Omni:

If there had actually been a bomb, would anyone be crying that this idiot got shot? No. And let's remember; as far as the air marshall knew, there WAS a bomb, because they're supposed to always assume that threats and claims of that nature are true.

mantis,Nice to see... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

mantis,

Nice to see you in the real reality crowd.

How've you been, anyway?

About the rest, it's a shame. But, glad to see that the rules were followed and no one else got hurt.

The comparison with the Lon... (Below threshold)
David:

The comparison with the London shooting is very dangerous. It took quite a while for the authorities to tell the truth. In the beginning, it was all lies and spinning the story their way[he jumped the barrier, wore a thick jacket, refused to stop when called, etc]. Lets wait until all the news are out there. Shoot-to-kill policies can be necessary, but have to be implemented very carefully...Who trains these sky marshalls and who controlls them ?

'Since it was the Democrats... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

'Since it was the Democrats who have led the way in homeland security'

In what parallel universe?

Given what's know about ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Given what's know about the situation, and what we learned about anti-terrorism "shoot to kill" directives following the London subway bombings, it appears the air marshal acted prudently in a difficult situation"It is probably too early to speculate ..but normally Air Marshalls are trained to prevent hyjackings on suspects entering or remaining on the aircraft, not leaving it..This man obviously was going beserk with his wife in tow, and was desperate to leave the aircraft on the ground..The London tube shooting was a catalogue of police errors that nearly provoked the dismissal of the Met Chief. Let's hope that the Ecudorean emphatically and lucidly impressed his pursurers they were reasonably certain that he"had a bomb." This was the threshold test, as I recall, in the "shoot-to-kill" Met directive, in London.

You know, "We democrats led... (Below threshold)
moseby:

You know, "We democrats led the way in Homeland Security, before we voted against it...".

Talk of "shooting to kill" ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Talk of "shooting to kill" is usually an indicator that people aren't familiar with lethal force.

Practically speaking, there is no such thing as "shooting to kill", or "shooting to wound" (rare occasions in police sniping aside) for that matter. In a gunfight, most especially with a handgun, you can't just say, "I'm gonna wing this guy", or "I'm going to shoot him once and he'll drop dead". As for the London incident, instructing officers to shoot for the brain is NOT the same thing as instructing them to "shoot to kill". This is a distinction lost of the talking heads on TV, so they start blathering about "shooting to kill".

You shoot to stop the person from doing whatever it was that made you shoot them -- and you keep shooting, until they do so. The quickest way to stop someone is a central nervous system hit -- the brain or the spine. That's why on the pistol qualification targets used by the Air Marshals, only hits in a fairly narrow vertical strip count. Needless to say this is usually fatal; I'm not at all surprised that the guy died.

"If Air Marshalls can't tell a bi-polar nut job without meds from a terrorist, we are in a whole mess of trouble."

- Another indicator that people aren't familiar with lethal force. This is serious business. You don't fuck around. If someone stands up and says they have a bomb, it doesn't matter if they sound like they're joking or look liek they're drunk or high or crazy; the cost of ignoring them is too high if they really do have one. If they then ignore your orders and reach into a bag, YOU SHOOT THEM AND KEEP SHOOTING THEM UNTIL THEY STOP DOING THAT. End of story, and until you figure it out leave this sort of thing to serious adults.

Terrorists know that 'people who look like terrorists' sort of stand out these days, and recruit accordingly - especially European converts who aren't Arabs.

It is probably too early... (Below threshold)
Mike:

It is probably too early to speculate ..but normally Air Marshalls are trained to prevent hyjackings on suspects entering or remaining on the aircraft, not leaving it..

Wow, you have been through the Air Marshall training program? Or maybe you just wrote the handbook. Obviously, you know nothing about the program and are just speculating, even though it's too early for that!

BTW, here is their Mission Statement, it states:

The Mission of the Federal Air Marshal Service is to be responsible for and protect air security and promote public confidence in our nation's civil aviation system through the effective deployment of Federal Air Marshals in order to detect, deter and defeat hostile acts targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers and crews.

This man obviously was going beserk with his wife in tow, and was desperate to leave the aircraft on the ground..

Wow, were you there Steve? Because apparently, you have all the answers and they are obvious. I don't know about you, but if I wanted to leave an airplane, the last thing I would do is claim I have a bomb. I think that sort of statement might be interpreted as a hostile act.

And we are not training these guys to differentiate between some sort of mental illness or true intentions. I, for one, think this guy should be commended for his actions. He put his life in danger and acted decisively when he thought others would be harmed.

In related news:"I... (Below threshold)
LJD:

In related news:

"Investigators closed the concourse at the airport for half an hour and spread passengers' bags on the tarmac. Dogs sniffed them for explosives, and bomb squad members blew up at least two bags."

Most people just get their bags lost. It must really suck having them blown up.

LJD,I believe the ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

LJD,

I believe the 2 bags that were blown up belonged to the aforementioned guy that claimed to have a bomb.

Hasn't anyone mentioned the... (Below threshold)
jim:

Hasn't anyone mentioned the precedent? This is not the first time armed officers had to accept that a person declaring a bomb had to be assumed to be factual and respond accordingly!

In 1982, a guy drove a van up to the Washington Monument and claimed it was a truck bomb. When he eventually tried to drive it away, sharpshooters shot him dead before he could get to where people were.

http://www.prop1.org/history/1982/82norman.htm

Here's a <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)

Here's a photo of the passengers disembarking. Can't be particularly happy at this point.

Wasn't there a "CSI Miami" ... (Below threshold)
freeman:

Wasn't there a "CSI Miami" about something like this? Only the plane was in flight when the crazy acting passenger tried to disembark and it was the other passengers who killed him.

"and all sorts of people wi... (Below threshold)
oLAF:

"and all sorts of people will probably form a line to vilify the unknown air marshal"

BUT WHYYYY!!!!?? WHY???!!!! WHY WOULD SOMEONE LINE UP TO 'VILIFY THE UNKNOWN AIR MARSHAL', THATS 100%, TOTAL, COMPLETE, UTTER ZANINESS!!!!!

"The moonbats will be out i... (Below threshold)
oLAF:

"The moonbats will be out in force on this one - Bu$hHitlerChimpyMcHalliburton and their minions are engaging in free fire zones in public airports, killing off mentally disturbed people at random. Just watch ... "

JD, if thats true, that would be really really really really disturbing, even the "Left Wing Nutjobs" can feel

If you are right however, I fear... fear very deeply, disturbedly and greatly for this country

Speaking strictly from a la... (Below threshold)

Speaking strictly from a law enforcement perspective, I've offered my take here. All in all, I think it's silly to blame the Air Marshal or the Air Marshal program at all. They're doing their job.

why do these Americans alwa... (Below threshold)
dj:

why do these Americans always have to point to muslims first? when the oklamahoma bombing happened no one ever pointed at all whites...i thinks thats criticizing ones faith, and religous beliefs.... we all should respect eachother,not act immature...didnt these dumbo's know that all bags get checked 1000 times b4 going on plane and u get scanned b4 u can enter the planes unless its one of their own guys..

I'm really sick of our govt... (Below threshold)
JR:

I'm really sick of our govt. murdering people and then making up lies to cover it up. The guy was trying to get off the plane and was shot in the back. You know, I'd feel alot safer if the pilots had carried the guns like they wanted and the air marshalls stayed off the planes.

Tim in PA knows what he say... (Below threshold)
Leenie:

Tim in PA knows what he says. When you threaten other human beings: go DOWN! I am sure everyone would agree if they were talking about their OWN FAMILIES!!!




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