MIAMI — A federal air marshal shot and killed a 44-year-old American Airlines passenger who claimed to have a bomb in his bag and ran off of the plane, a Department of Homeland Security official confirmed to FOX News.
The air marshal pursued and tackled the suspect, a U.S. citizen, on the jet bridge between the terminal and the Boeing 757.
“The passenger … indicated he had a bomb in his bag,” Dave Adams, a federal air marshals spokesman, told FOX News in a telephone interview.
“The subject was incapacitated,” Adams said. “He was subdued.”
American Airlines flight 924 was arriving at Miami-Dade International Airport on Wednesday when the incident occurred.
“There was an incident at the Jet Bridge involving FLT 924 departing Miami for Orlando [after arriving from Colombia]. A federal marshal was involved in the incident. No further comment,” American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said in a statement.
Homeland Security officials confirmed to FOX News that this is the first time a federal air marshal has discharged his or her weapon since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Details surrounding the incident were not immediately clear, but footage showed medical personnel boarding American Airlines flight 924 with a stretcher and around 25 to 30 police vehicles on the scene.
Sources told FOX News the person may have been unbalanced. One witness said the man frantically ran down the aisle and a woman, apparently his wife, said he suffered from bipolar disorder and hadn’t taken his medication.
“Bipolar disorder is a treatable medical illness marked by extreme changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior,” according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Web site.
The plane arrived from Colombia and its final destination was Orlando.
The incident forced airport officials to close Concourse D but the rest of the airport remained open. The concourse has been reopened.
Aviation experts postulated that the situation must have been seen as a dangerous one if the air marshal drew his gun.
“The conditions [that would warrant an air marshal to fire his or her weapon] ought to be one where he has identified a threat to security” on the flight, Ron Goldman, an aviation attorney and pilot, told FOX News.
Martin Gonzalez, spokesman for Colombia’s civil aviation agency, said he had no information regarding the incident.
“The flight left normally with no problems,” he told The Associated Press in Bogota.
He said he did not have a list of passengers who were aboard the plane.
FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
And saying “I have a bomb”, and then running from the nice men with guns whilst reaching into your bag is certainly not the best way to prolong one’s life.