PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 26-year-old man is facing federal charges after the flight crew on board a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday described him as “belligerent” and even prepared a pot of boiling water to use against him in case he approached the flight deck, court documents state.
Sheron Rogers is being held on a United State Marshals hold at the Multnomah County Detention Center after the incident forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Portland.
According to a federal court affidavit, Rogers was on board Southwest Flight 1010 from Seattle to Sacramento Tuesday morning when the crew notified airline officials of a passenger who was causing disturbance. Rogers was allegedly posing a “threat to the safety of the aircraft,” court documents state.
Because of the disturbance, the airplane made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport and the FBI was notified at 7:47 a.m. Tuesday.
Investigators said that when Rogers boarded the flight he was “confrontational” with the crew. He said he a had a reserved first class ticket and “loudly demanded to be seated in the front of the plane,” the documents state. Rogers was told the airline doesn’t have a first class section and that he was allowed to take any open seat in the middle of the aircraft.
When a flight attendant told Rogers to store his bag, he reportedly said, “I do what I want.” Before the flight took off, but after the doors had been secured, Rogers pushed the call button. When the flight attendant asked if it was an emergency Rogers reportedly said, “Yeah…I need a f****** drink!” A passenger seated in front of Rogers asked to be reseated because she and her daughter felt “extremely scared and intimidated.”
As the plane taxied, police said Rogers hit the call button again and demanded alcoholic drinks and used more foul language. When the crew refused, Rogers reportedly became “belligerent.”
Passengers on board the plane appeared very concerned about his behavior, police said. Rogers continued to demand alcoholic beverages from the flight crew and at one point told a flight attendant “Jesus loves you,” court documents state. Police said Rogers even showed gang signs with his hands elevated above his head.
Rogers reportedly asked to speak with the pilot. He started shouting “f*** off” to passengers around him who were watching the disturbance. An off-duty flight attendant who was sitting behind him told investigators that he believed Roger was very close to becoming physically violent. The attendant said he “contemplated retrieving zip tie from his bag in case they were forced to restrain Rogers,” according to the documents.
At this point, flight staff recruited help from other passengers in case they need to restrain him. One of the flight attendants on board the aircraft “went so far as to prepare a pot of boiling water to use against Rogers if he were to approach the flight deck.”
When the FBI interviewed Rogers, he allegedly told them that the “people on the plane were evil.”
Investigators said Rogers later admitted to smoking “purple hash” before the flight. Purple hash is a type of marijuana.
Rogers is expected to appear before a magistrate judge Thursday.
— Brent Weisberg