The airline passenger shot to death by federal marshals who said he made a bomb threat was agitated even before boarding and later appeared to be desperate to get off the plane, some fellow travelers said.
One passenger said he “absolutely never heard the word ’bomb’ at all” during the uproar as the Orlando-bound flight prepared to leave Miami on Wednesday.
“I can’t conceive that the marshals wouldn’t be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check,” Carlos Alpizar told The Orlando Sentinel.
Some passengers said they noticed Alpizar while waiting to get on the plane. They said he was singing “Go Down Moses” as his wife tried to calm him. Others said they saw him having lunch and described him as restless and anxious, but not dangerous.
“The wife was telling him, ’Calm down. Let other people get on the plane. It will be all right,”’ said Alan Tirpak, a passenger.
“The first time I heard the word ’bomb’ was when I was interviewed by the FBI,” McAlhany said. “They kept asking if I heard him say the B-word. And I said, ’What is the B-word?’ And they were like, ’Bomb.’ I said no. They said, ’Are you sure?’ And I am.”
Armed police boarded the aircraft after the shooting, with some passengers in hysterics. McAlhany said he remembers having a shotgun pressed into his head by one officer, and hearing cries and screams from many passengers aboard the aircraft after the shooting in the jetway.
But here is the kicker:
David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said he thinks the shooting may prove more “reassuring than disturbing” to the traveling public his organization represents. “This is a reminder they are there and are protecting the passengers and that it is a seriously deadly business,” he said.
Now I, personally, have never felt comfortable flying (think William Shatner in Twilight Zone) so contrary to David Stempler, the fact that I might get my ass shot off or have a shotgun presed up against my head while someone else gets shot is not at all comforting. Nor does it particularly make me want to fly. What it does, in point of fact, is makes me want to stay as far away from airplanes and airports as possible. But tha's just me.