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Las Vegas Bound Airline Passenger Indicted for Alleged Attack

by DIGITAL TIMES
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Posted on: February 22, 2024, 01:55h. 

Last updated on: February 22, 2024, 02:03h.

A passenger who allegedly beat a man while both were on a plane heading to Las Vegas was indicted on Wednesday.

A sign for Harry Reid International Airport
A sign for Harry Reid International Airport, pictured above. A passenger who landed at the airport was arrested after allegedly attacking a fellow passenger. (Image: KUNR)

The defendant, Julio Lopez, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for last month’s attack, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS. He will appear in Las Vegas federal court next week.

The January 24 incident took place after the Alaska Airlines plane took off from Seattle’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Midflight, Lopez allegedly threw punches and struck the fellow passenger and struck the victim’s wife.

During the altercation, [the victim’s] wife was screaming at the defendant to stop hitting her husband,” according to an arrest report from the FBI. There was “blood everywhere.”

Another nearby passenger also ordered Lopez to stop the assault, the FBI revealed.

Suspect Restrained

A law enforcement officer happened to be on the flight, and also demanded Lopez take a seat. Flight attendants put on “flex cuffs and the defendant was restrained for the remainder of the flight” until the plane arrived in Las Vegas, according to the FBI.

The unnamed victim had been sitting near Lopez. There was no description of the victim’s injuries.

Lopez was also described in the FBI report as being “fidgety” while on the plane, Las Vegas TV station KVVU reported. He kept on getting out of his seat and made an extended trip to the restroom on the plane.

Lopez also was found to have a homemade weapon in his possession. It was made of pens and rubber bands, KLAS reported.

Once the flight landed at Harry Reid International Airport at 8:37 a.m., Lopez was placed in custody by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and placed in a police substation in Terminal 3.

Lopez told authorities he “felt the mafia had been chasing him” and that he “planned on attacking and killing him [the passenger].” He added that the victim was linked to “the cartel” and was following him, according to KVVU.

Wanted Asylum

Lopez also said he planned to seek asylum in the United States, according to KVVU. There’s no word if Lopez is from a foreign nation or if he is a migrant or visitor to the United States.

At one point, Lopez demanded to speak to FBI agents. The FBI took over the investigation of the attack.

None of the flight crew appear to have been injured during the flight.

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