BOSTON – A Leominster man who allegedly attempted to open an emergency door on a commercial airplane before stabbing a flight attendant in the neck with a broken spoon has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, now being held at the federal prison at Devens, is charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew using a dangerous weapon. Torres was initially charged by criminal complaint on March 6, following his arrest at Boston Logan International Airport.
Days later, a federal judge ordered a mental health evaluation for Torres.
According to the charging documents, Torres was a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston on March 5, 2023.
Approximately 45 minutes prior to landing at Logan, the crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a door located between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft was disarmed. Upon inspection, a flight attendant found that the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position – approximately a quarter of the way toward the unlocked position – and that the emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the disarmed position, according to U.S. Attorney’s office.
The flight attendant reported this to the captain and flight crew after securing the door and emergency slide, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
In subsequent discussions, a fellow flight attendant reported that he had observed Torres near the door and believed Torres had tampered with the door. A flight attendant then confronted Torres about tampering with the door, to which he allegedly responded by asking if there were cameras showing that he had done so. According to court documents, the flight attendant then notified the captain that they believed Torres posed a threat to the aircraft and that the captain needed to land the aircraft as soon as possible, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Shortly thereafter, it is alleged that Torres got out of his seat and approached the starboard side door where two flight attendants were standing in the aisle. One of the flight attendants saw Torres mouthing something that he could not hear. Video taken by a passenger allegedly depicts Torres yelling at points that he would “kill every man on this plane” and “I’m taking over this plane,” the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Torres then allegedly thrust toward one of the flight attendants, in a stabbing motion, with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck area three times. Passengers then tackled Torres; he was restrained with the assistance of flight crew. Torres was taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival to Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The charge of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Leominster man charged with attacking flight attendant indicated
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