A man believed to be under the influence of drugs or mentally ill was arrested Sunday after scaling a perimeter fence at Los Angeles International Airport, running up to a Southwest Airlines jetliner and setting off a landing gear fire extinguisher, authorities said.
The incident began around at 7:48 p.m. Saturday, LAX police Officer Rob Pedregon said.
A Southwest Airlines captain reported seeing a shadow in his peripheral vision before an alarm went off in the cockpit and he saw a person in a video transmitted to the jetliner cockpit, Pedregon said.
The jetliner had just powered up for a flight to Sacramento.
The suspect had grabbed the landing gear extinguisher and set it off, which set off the cockpit alarm, Pedregon said.
The man then ran back toward the fence, where he was arrested with the help of a police dog, the officer said.
“When asked why he did it, he told officers he was trying to fly back to Downey,” Pedregon said.
The man was taken to a hospital for treatment of a dog bite and was released about 10 p.m. to be booked at a nearby police station, he said.
Charges could include suspicion of trespass and felony vandalism, Pedregon said.
The jetliner was towed back to the gate, where passengers switched planes and took off for Sacramento, he said.
No devices were found on the plane but there was damage to an auxiliary power unit.
–City News Service
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