• Woman who hid with children during OIA standoff feared she'd be shot in the back

    By: Jason Kelly , Roy Ramos


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Normal operations at Orlando International Airport resumed Wednesday morning, hours after the end of a standoff involving a 26-year-old man holding a fake gun, the Orlando Police Department said.

    Michael Wayne Pettigrew was taken into custody after the standoff, during which he threatened to harm himself and pointed what appeared to be a real gun at officers at a rental car area on the airport's ground floor, Orlando police Chief John Mina said.

    The gun was later determined to be a replica, Mina said.

    Police said a Mears Transportation employee called 911 shortly before 7:30 p.m. to report that a man walked up to a counter and showed her what appeared to be a gun. She said he ordered her to use his cellphone to call police.

    Read: Few delays reported after standoff at OIA

    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    Watch: Passengers describe standoff at Orlando International Airport

    "Our negotiators did a phenomenal job talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender," Mina said.

    The suspect surrendered at about 10 p.m.

    Crystal Oliphant said she was picking up her husband from the airport Tuesday night.

    "(We were) terrified," she said. "Immediately, we think that there's a bomb or that there's a shooting going on. And we're not getting any information. And there's hundreds of police (officers) just coming in."

    Watch: Orlando police Chief John Mina's news conference on OIA standoff

    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    Passengers and employees bolted once they realized what was happening.

    Witness Kim Turner told Channel 9 that the suspect was dressed in black, but she couldn't see his face because she was hiding with her two children.

    Turner said she saw the suspect point what appeared to be a gun at his own head. Although the gun was fake, it seemed real to her.

    "I actually had a thought of me getting shot in the back," she said. "I didn't want to get shot in the back, so I waited."

    Photos: Standoff at Orlando International Airport

    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    Turner waited for an opportunity to run to safety.

    "He's kind of moving around," she said. "I just ran across and grabbed my kids, and I was like, 'Get out of here.' So we just grabbed the suitcase and we ran."

    No one was injured.

    Pettigrew was detained under the Baker Act and will undergo a psychological evaluation, police said. He is charged with aggravated assault on a firefighter.

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