by: WFTV Web Staff, Karla Ray Updated:
ORLANDO, Fla. - A passenger accused of becoming aggressive on an Air Canada flight and attacking the crew with coffee pots was in federal court on Friday.
The flight, which was heading to Toronto from Jamaica, had to be diverted to Orlando International Airport.
A federal criminal complaint said crew members and other passengers secured Brandon Michael Courneyea, 33, using zip ties after he became disruptive and aggressive.
In court, it came out that Courneyea told an officer at the hospital that he’s been using cocaine since he was 14-years-old, which his attorney disputed in court.
The alleged mid-air tirade could have been the result of admitted cocaine use in Jamaica before the flight took off for Toronto.
Courneyea, a father of five, told the judge two of his children in Canada have complex medical issues.
“He doesn’t have a criminal record this is not something that he would do. He had a mental breakdown,” said his attorney, Corey Cohen.
The federal prosecutor told the court a Taser was used on Courneyea at the Orange County Jail because he allegedly lunged for an officer’s Taser.
The judge said he wants more information about extradition laws between the U.S. and Canada before a decision is made on Courneyea’s bond status.
When asked if he would come to court hearings in the future, Courneyea said he was, “not a runner, not a coward.”
Watch: Unruly passenger removed from Air Canada flight
Crew members called the FBI at about 7:30 p.m. Monday after a flight attendant reported that Courneyea started to yell at passengers “for looking at him,” the complaint said.
He then went to the back of the plane, where he grabbed a pot of coffee and started to swing it aggressively at crew members, investigators said.
The complaint also said that Courneyea said it would “only take one guy to take the plane down and that he wanted to take everyone with him.”
He then grabbed a second pot of coffee, prompting a flight attendant to confront him out of concern for other passengers, agents said.
“When confronted (by the flight attendant), Courneyea lunged for the rear cabin exit door and began to pull the door lever up to open the door,” the complaint said. “(He) then was restrained by crew members and fellow passengers on the aircraft.”
He was arrested by federal agents and charged with assault or intimidation of flight crew member or flight attendant and interfering with the performance of duties.
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