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Thread: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    MIAMI - The airline passenger shot to death by federal marshals who said he made a bomb threat was agitated even before boarding and later appeared to be desperate to get off the plane, some fellow travelers said.

    One passenger said he "absolutely never heard the word 'bomb' at all" during the uproar as the Orlando-bound flight prepared to leave Miami on Wednesday.

    Federal officials say Rigoberto Alpizar made the threat in the jetway, after running up the plane's aisle from his seat at the back of the jetliner. They opened fire because the 44-year-old Home Depot employee ignored their orders to stop, reached into his backpack and said he had a bomb, according to authorities.

    Alpizar's brother, speaking from Costa Rica, said he would never believe the shooting was necessary.

    "I can't conceive that the marshals wouldn't be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check," Carlos Alpizar told The Orlando Sentinel.

    Some passengers said they noticed Alpizar while waiting to get on the plane. They said he was singing "Go Down Moses" as his wife tried to calm him. Others said they saw him having lunch and described him as restless and anxious, but not dangerous.

    "The wife was telling him, 'Calm down. Let other people get on the plane. It will be all right,'" said Alan Tirpak, a passenger.

    Some passengers, including John McAlhany, said they believe Alpizar was no threat to anyone.

    McAlhany, a 44-year-old construction worker who was returning home from a fishing trip in Key West, said he was sitting in Seat 21C when he noticed a commotion a few rows back.

    "I heard him saying to his wife, 'I've got to get off the plane,'" McAlhany said. "He bumped me, bumped a couple of stewardesses. He just wanted to get off the plane."

    Alpizar ran up the aisle into the first-class cabin, where marshals chased him onto the jetway, McAlhany said.

    McAlhany said he "absolutely never heard the word 'bomb' at all."

    "The first time I heard the word 'bomb' was when I was interviewed by the FBI," McAlhany said. "They kept asking if I heard him say the B-word. And I said, 'What is the B-word?' And they were like, 'Bomb.' I said no. They said, 'Are you sure?' And I am."

    Added another passenger, Mary Gardner: "I did not hear him say that he had a bomb."

    Officials say there was no bomb and they found no connection to terrorism.

    Witnesses said Alpizar's wife, Anne Buechner, had frantically tried to explain he was bipolar, a mental illness also known as manic-depression, and was off his medication.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness called on the Air Marshal Service and other law enforcement agencies to train officers if they don't already in responding to people with severe mental illness.

    Others said Alpizar's mental health didn't matter while marshals were trying to talk to him and determine if the threat was real.

    Shooting to maim or injure rather than kill is not an option for federal agents, said John Amat, national operations vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which includes air marshals in its membership.

    "The person was screaming, saying he would blow up the plane, reaching into his bag they had to react," Amat said.

    "The bottom line is, we're trained to shoot to stop the threat," said Amat, who is also a deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami. "Hollywood has this perception that we are such marksmen we can shoot an arm or leg with accuracy. We can't. These guys were in a very tense situation. In their minds they had to believe this person was an imminent threat to themselves or the people on the plane."

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the two air marshals appeared to have acted properly when they shot to kill.

    Both air marshals were hired in 2002 from other federal law enforcement agencies and were placed on administrative leave, said Brian Doyle, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Miami-Dade Police were investigating and the medical examiner's office was performing an autopsy on Alpizar, who was from Costa Rica but became a U.S. citizen years ago. He lived in Maitland, an Orlando suburb.

    Neighbors said the couple had been returning to their home from a missionary trip to Ecuador. Buechner works for the Council on Quality and Leadership based in Towson, Md., a nonprofit organization focused on improving life for people with disabilities and mental illness, the organization said in a statement.

    David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said he thinks the shooting may prove more "reassuring than disturbing" to the traveling public his organization represents. "This is a reminder they are there and are protecting the passengers and that it is a seriously deadly business," he said.

    Armed police boarded the aircraft after the shooting, with some passengers in hysterics. McAlhany said he remembers having a shotgun pressed into his head by one officer, and hearing cries and screams from many passengers aboard the aircraft after the shooting in the jetway.

    "This was wrong," McAlhany said. "This man should be with his family for Christmas. Now he's dead."


    Associated Press writers Andrew Bridges, Mark Sherman and Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington; Mike Schneider and Travis Reed in Orlando; and Jessica Gresko and Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.


    Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
    Hmmmm...this gets weirder by the minute.
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    Elite Member miss_perfect's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Here's some more backstory on him from WSVN, our local TV station. It's sad.

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma missionaries who spent last week with Rigoberto Alpizar say he was a quiet, caring man who helped hand out sunglasses to the poor in South America.

    Alpizar was fatally shot on a jetway by U.S. air marshals at Miami International Airport on Wednesday.

    Alpizar and his wife joined the Oklahoma-based Faith Medical Missions for a trip to Ecuador from November 25th to December 2nd. He and his wife later vacationed in Peru.

    Authorities say Alpizar was shot after announcing he had a bomb on a connecting flight from Ecuador to Orlando. His wife shouted that he was mentally ill and needed medicine, but air marshal officials say the two officers had no choice but to fire.

    No bomb was found.

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    Bronze Member Tsarina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    what's sad is that he failed to take his meds and had a breakdown that led to his death. the level of violence is dictacted by the suspect.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
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    Silver Member BlueEyesCryin's Avatar
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    Before everyone gets all wound up about an innocent man being shot, you have to look at some of the information here. The plane was coming from Colombia, the man had made enough commotion already to attract attention, he didn't stop when the air marshalls ordered him to, he was a man with mental issues and acting out because of them. What if the air marshalls had waited to see what he was going to do and an entire plane load of people were killed when he did have a bomb? And someone must have heard him say something that sounded like "bomb". These marshalls don't go around just looking for someone to shoot, else this wouldn't be one of the first times we've had a shooting since 9/11.

    As for the passengers saying they didn't hear anything, how full was the airplane and why have we only heard from a few of them? There are people who want to talk to the media and there are the sane people.

    Personally, I'm glad there are marshalls looking out for my welfare when I'm trapped in an aluminum tube with over 100 strangers at 40,000 feet in the air. (And I know this didn't happen in the sky, but a jetway doesn't make me feel much better.)

    Double post here - don't hit me with the ban bus!

    I just read the other thread about this and I see that I'm not alone in my opinion by far. I'll stand down now. Thank you for your attention.
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    Elite Member miss_perfect's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEyesCryin View Post
    Before everyone gets all wound up about an innocent man being shot, you have to look at some of the information here. The plane was coming from Colombia, the man had made enough commotion already to attract attention, he didn't stop when the air marshalls ordered him to, he was a man with mental issues and acting out because of them. What if the air marshalls had waited to see what he was going to do and an entire plane load of people were killed when he did have a bomb? And someone must have heard him say something that sounded like "bomb". These marshalls don't go around just looking for someone to shoot, else this wouldn't be one of the first times we've had a shooting since 9/11.

    As for the passengers saying they didn't hear anything, how full was the airplane and why have we only heard from a few of them? There are people who want to talk to the media and there are the sane people.

    Personally, I'm glad there are marshalls looking out for my welfare when I'm trapped in an aluminum tube with over 100 strangers at 40,000 feet in the air. (And I know this didn't happen in the sky, but a jetway doesn't make me feel much better.)
    I completely agree with you. And none of us were there, we can't really know what happened.

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    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    keep in mind that the article only mentioned two passenger's opinion on whether or not "bomb" was heard. the title of the articles implies that a bunch of the passengers didn't hear anything.
    One passenger said he "absolutely never heard the word 'bomb' at all" during the uproar as the Orlando-bound flight prepared to leave Miami on Wednesday.
    Added another passenger, Mary Gardner: "I did not hear him say that he had a bomb."
    plus, mcalhany was sitting near the back of the plane.

    McAlhany, a 44-year-old construction worker who was returning home from a fishing trip in Key West, said he was sitting in Seat 21C when he noticed a commotion a few rows back.......Alpizar ran up the aisle into the first-class cabin, where marshals chased him onto the jetway, McAlhany said.
    i'm not saying that he for sure did say the word bomb, i'm just saying that this article is very weak at providing any type of relevant information.

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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Well, the guy was running OFF the plane and was on the jetway when he was shot so I'm not quite sure what the danger to passengers ON the plane was. His wife repeatedly told airline staff that her husband was off his meds and did NOT have a bomb.

    Yes, he should have stopped, but he was not in his right mind. Having gone through U.S. airways myself recently, I noticed a rather swaggering, macho attitude among the marshals, an attitude that easily translates into being a little too trigger happy.

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    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Well, the guy was running OFF the plane and was on the jetway when he was shot so I'm not quite sure what the danger to passengers ON the plane was.
    bombs don't have to be right next to someone in order to blow them up.

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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    ^^I'm well aware of that. My point is that he was a victim of his own mental illness and more than likely a victim of trigger-happy marshals. It is easy to say after the fact that they had to do it, but it strikes me as overkill. As for trusting his wife, well, of course they have to use discretion. But from all accounts, she was eminently credible and begged them to let him go.

    He had been acting strangely on the plane for quite some time before the bomb threat, if indeed there actually was one, was made. Surely, it would have been obvious to most people -- other than the marshals for some unknown reason -- that there was something mentally wrong with the man.

    Too many mentally ill people are being mowed down, put in prison or dumped out onto the streets like they are criminals by police when in fact, they are ILL.

    I realize this is a tough call, but whatever happened to common sense?

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    SVZ
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Well the federal air marshals are saying that he made bomb threats, whereas the people on the plane are saying they heard no such thing...

    Who's to trust here? An organization with a dead innocent man on their hands or local fame whores?

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    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    ^^^again svz, the article says only TWO people didn't hear anything.

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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    That's why i said they were local fame whores? Obviously they didn't poll every single person on that plane....but I'm sure if someone had mentioned bomb people wouldn't have been in their seats.

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    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    ^^^actually, i think people very well might be frozen in their seats. who wants to chase after an agitated bomb threatener? wouldn't that make him more likely to pull the trigger faster?

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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    Who knows...just something doesn't match up

    "The person was screaming, saying he would blow up the plane, reaching into his bag they had to react,"

    and a person two aisles up saying they didn't hear anything at all? I think if he had yelled threats there would've been a sense of what we're feeling on this board, more along the lines of "It sucks that he was killed, but he was making threats." from the passengers interviewed. They didn't know him, and if they were going for drama something along the lines of, "Oh my god it was horribl! He turned into a demon and started yelling and screaming saying the B word" would've done much better.

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    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Passengers say they never heard man shot by air marshalls say the word 'bomb'

    it sounds like the screaming and reaching into the bag part happened as he was trying to get out of the plane and running on the jetway. i have faith in the men who are professionally trained to deal with these situations, and i'm not going to believe otherwise til there is a multitude of passengers saying otherwise. we'll just have to wait and see, cuz of course there will be an investigation.

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