Man with fake gun at airport wanted to speak to president

  • Man with fake gun at airport wanted to speak to president

Man with fake gun at airport wanted to speak to president

Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina said at press conference Tuesday night that officers questioned the suspect who was identified as Michael Wayne Pettigrew, 26, a former Marine.

When the dispatcher asks if Pettigrew has any mental health problems, the unidentified friend says he doesn't know, but "I know he has had some other issues". No one was hurt. Police realized the gun was fake once he was taken into custody.

Part of the airport was evacuated as police attempted to subdue the suspect.

After around a half an hour, Orlando Police took to Twitter to appease the public, tweeting, "There is no active shooter".

Pettigrew, then a lance corporal, used a knife on July 24, 2011 to cut a corporal on the face and arm while he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California, documents show. His sentence of a bad conduct discharge, confinement for seven months and reduction to pay grade E-1 was approved on January 6, 2012.

Orlando police tweeted Tuesday night "Gunman in custody".

A spokeswoman for the Orlando International Airport says authorities are responding to a report of an armed man in the rental vehicle area.

Police quickly confronted the man, who by 9:04 was reported by the airport to be "contained" and that "no shots were fired".

Negotiators convinced Pettigrew to peacefully surrender at about 10 p.m.

A mentally distressed former Marine who was armed with a fake gun during what officials called an attempt at "suicide by cop" at Orlando International Airport said he wanted to speak to the president.

Some flights were delayed during the almost three-hour standoff.

The episode started Tuesday night when Pettigrew approached a cashier at a taxi company in the airport and showed her what looked like a gun. The man requested that the employee call the police and that he wanted to "speak to the president", but after her phone didn't work, the suspect handed her his own and called 911, police said.

No one was hurt and no shots were ever fired, but the Tuesday night standoff caused confusion and anxiety among travelers.

The airport tweeted that the area had been contained and there was minimal impact to operations.

Authorities say 26-year-old Michael Wayne Pettigrew was in "mental distress" when police surrounded him at the rental vehicle area of the airport.

When the officer repeated his orders, the man dropped to his knees, put the gun to his head and shouted, "Kill me", the report said.

Mina said that officers were finally able to coax the former Marine into surrendering after what was nearly a three-hour standoff.

He has been admitted to a mental evaluation, as well as, facing charges of an assault with a weapon despite the fact that it is fake.