Pilot In Custody After Threatening To Smash Plane Into Mississippi Walmart, Police Say

Pilot In Custody After Threatening To Smash Plane Into Mississippi Walmart, Police Say

A pilot threatening to crash a plane into a Mississippi Walmart has been detained by police after circling around the area for hours in a stolen plane, according to state officials.

The pilot, identified by officials as Cory Wayne Patterson, had threatened to crash a plane into a Walmart in Tupelo, a town of about 38,000 in northeastern Mississippi. The plane ended up landing about 50 miles north of Tupelo where the Benton County Sheriff’s Department took him into custody. 

“The plane over North MS is down. Thankful the situation has been resolved and that no one was injured. Thank you most of all to local, state, and federal law enforcement who managed this situation with extreme professionalism,” Governor Tate Reeves (R-MS) announced on Twitter. 

Police do not believe that Patterson was a licensed pilot and said he will be facing charges for grand larceny and making terrorist threats, according to local Tupelo outlet the Daily Journal. Patterson could be hit with additional federal charges as well. 

Per @AP : The small plane threatening to crash in #Tupelo, Mississippi has landed and no one has been hurt. The person inside the plane is in custody.

Throughout the morning, law enforcement has been scrambling to resolve the situation as the plane kept circling the area. pic.twitter.com/nFY4vuKoKR

— Shane Battis TV (@ShaneBattisTV) September 3, 2022

The arrest follows the Tupelo Police Department’s announcement Saturday morning that they were “notified that a pilot of an airplane (possibly King Air type) was flying over Tupelo. The pilot has made contact with E911 and is threatening to intentionally crash into Wal Mart on West Main.”

After the call came in, the police worked to evacuate the area, and negotiators were brought in to speak with Patterson. Police said that family members were also brought into communication with Patterson. 

The plane, which police say was stolen, was identified as a Beechcraft King Air 90. Patterson landed the plane in a field in Benton County after which he was detained by police. 

A woman who told CNN she saw the plane go down in a field said that it appeared to have crashed “pretty hard.” 

“We did see the suspect with his hands up and we saw police detain him without any incident,” Roxanne Ward said. “Police were there immediately, which led me to believe that they were following him.”

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said that Patterson, who worked for a contractor working at airports, took the plane as part of a  “crime of opportunity.”