Man arrested on LAX runway said he was trying to fly to Downey, was likely high, police say

Authorities arrested a man on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night.
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A man who was arrested after making his way onto a runway at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night was likely under the influence of narcotics, police said.

Eduardo Hernandez, 31, scaled a barbed-wire fence at the airport about 7:45 p.m., ran across a runway and set off a fire extinguisher in the wheel well of a Southwest Airlines jet that was set for takeoff before he was arrested, said Los Angeles Airport Police spokesman Rob Pedregon.

Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and felony vandalism, Pedregon said.. He was suspected of being under the influence of narcotics at the time.


He told police officers he was trying to fly to Downey — a Los Angeles suburb about 18 miles east of the airport — Pedregon said.

Hernandez scaled a 12- to 14-foot-tall fence along Westchester Parkway that is lined with barbed wire and ran across a grass patch before reaching the airport’s northernmost runway, he said.

The Sacramento-bound Southwest jet was powering up for takeoff when Hernandez reached up into the landing gear and set off a fire extinguisher and an alarm. The pilot notified police, who captured Hernandez with the aid of a police dog around 7:55 p.m., Pedregon said.

“He was actually very fortunate he wasn’t killed as the jet was powering up,” Pedregon said.

Passengers were put on another jet to Sacramento.


10:20 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11: This article was updated with new information from airport police.

This article was originally posted at 10:35 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.