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Man who allegedly tried to open Southwest door in flight due in court

A 23-year-old man accused of trying to open a jetliner door during a California-bound Southwest Airlines flight is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Joshua Carl Lee Suggs was arrested Sunday after Flight 722 left Chicago’s Midway Airport and made an emergency landing in Omaha, according to a criminal complaint.

Suggs, a Sacramento native, has been charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants. 

Witnesses told various media outlets the incident started an hour into the flight when they heard a flight attendant screaming for help.

“Some gentleman decided that he wanted us to visit the Lord today and…open up the back hatch while we were already up in the air,” Monique Lawler, a passenger, told KABC-TV.

The complaint said one of the flight attendants had blocked the door, preventing the man from opening the hatch door. 

One of the men, who identified himself to KCRA-TV as Dr. Scott Porter, said he responded because he thought it was a medical emergency.  

“We basically tackled—I don’t want to say ‘gentleman,’ but the guy who was back there and then pinned him down.” Porter said. “I got the sense he was probably on some sort of drugs or that he was psychotic.”

Another passenger said the man's eyes were extremely dilated and his speech was incoherent but clear, the criminal complaint read.

Lawler said she saw the man acting strangely and at one point was soaking wet when he came out of the bathroom.

The flight, which was en route to Sacramento International Airport, was diverted to Nebraska to remove the unruly passenger. About 135 passengers and a crew of five were on the plane when it landed.

The flight continued to its destination after the passenger was removed.


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