Airport gunman in custody; everyone safe
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 18:49
Micahel Pettigrew pointed the gun at officers and said "shoot me, shoot me", the department said in a Twitter post. The suspect was speaking with a crisis negotiator, according to earlier Twitter posts by Orlando police.
A man with a fake gun was taken into custody at the Orlando International Airport Tuesday night following a almost three-hour standoff with police in one of the main terminals, officials said.
Pettigrew was told again to drop the gun, and he yelled at Angel to "kill me" while pointing the gun at himself, the report said.
Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said an armed man was on the first floor of the airport in the rental-car area following which the first floor had to be cleared.
"I have remained in constant communication with City of Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, and FDLE Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks regarding the incident tonight at Orlando International Airport".
Airport operations were returning to normal late Tuesday night. The airport said entrances were "open but congested".
Police said the suspect was attempting "suicide by cop", trying to draw gunfire from authorities by threatening bystanders and the responding officers. "Our negotiators did a phenomenal job of talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender", Mina said.
According to an affidavit, a Mears transportation employee said a man, later identified as Michael Wayne Pettigrew of Orlando, came up to her shortly before 7:30 p.m.to say he had a gun.
"I actually had a thought of me getting shot in the back", she said. Terminal A is shut down, and traffic entering the airport was at a standstill.
Authorities warned people to stay in their vehicles and away from police, while travellers were urged to check the status of their flight with airlines. The 26-year-old faces one count of aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, police said.