Jet Pilot Who Threatened to Ram Walmart in Mississippi Faces Terror-Related Charges


A man who stole a small plane and threatened to crash it into a Walmart in northern Mississippi is in custody and faces charges of grand larceny and making terrorist threats, local police said.

Police said Cory Patterson had stolen a King Air twin-engine jet from Tupelo’s airport and flew it over the town for a few hours, putting residents on edge. He eventually landed in a field and was arrested.

“He is being charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats. We do anticipate that the federal government will proceed with federal charges in the very near future,” Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka told a press conference.

Quaka said the man had been an employee of Tupelo Aviation for ten years and was responsible for fueling jets. He appeared to have some flight instruction but had no license.

He stole the jet on Saturday morning after fully fueling it the night before. He then made contact with 911 and threatened to ram the plane into a Walmart, prompting evacuation from the store and surrounding area.

He was eventually convinced to land the jet and received assistance from a private pilot because he had no landing experience, the police chief said.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves praised local, state and federal law enforcement for managing the stolen plane situation with “extreme professionalism.” He said no one was injured.

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