OKLAHOMA CITY — One man is in police custody and a plane full of passengers heading from Los Angeles to Atlanta are breathing a little easier after an incident aboard their flight late Friday night.
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Delta Flight 1730 was on it’s way to Atlanta before being diverted to Oklahoma City after an unruly passenger caused havoc on the plane.
Oklahoma City police told ABC News the man became unruly, made terroristic threats and assaulted two flight attendants while threatening to take down the plane. Police say the flight attendant asked passengers for help and it took several of them along with an off-duty pilot on the flight to hold the man down.
Police later identified the suspect as Stephon Jamar Duncan. Duncan allegedly said he was going to take down the plane Friday evening while it was en route from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Oklahoma City police spokesman Jermaine Johnson said.
Duncan works for Delta as a flight attendant but was off-duty at the time, according to the airline.
Delta said Duncan went to the front of the plane and used the intercom system before being stopped by an on-duty flight attendant. Investigators say he was “exhibiting signs of mental health issues” and said he was experiencing chest pains. Duncan was transported to an Oklahoma City area hospital and is being questioned by the FBI. Police say Duncan is facing two possible charges of assault and battery.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke with Steve Denton a passenger on the flight.
“The passenger that caused the issue he was challenged the entire time. He boarded the flight . He was wearing a helmet. Really weird behavior,” Denton said.
Despite the weird behavior Denton says most passengers remained calm.
Denton says about two hours into the flight things really began to change.
“He walked to the front and grabbed the PA system knew exactly what to do and made this announcement ‘hey, everybody put on your oxygen mask because there’s getting ready to be a lot of turbulence on this flight,” Denton said.
Multiple reports on social media claimed Duncan was trying to open the door of the plane and possibly trying to get into the cockpit but officials say that those reports were not correct.
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After taking the Duncan away, Oklahoma City police searched the plane for any potential issues and cleared it shortly thereafter. The flight, while delayed was allowed to continue on to Atlanta where it landed early Saturday morning.
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Delta did release a statement about the incident to Channel 2 Action News.
“Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 (LAX to ATL) who assisted in detaining an unruly passenger as the flight diverted to Oklahoma City (OKC). The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement. We apologize to our customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this caused.”
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