LAPD officer recounts helping subdue unruly man on LAX flight

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An off-duty officer who helped subdue an unruly passenger on a flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii talked about the frightening ordeal on Thursday. (KABC)

An off-duty officer who helped subdue an unruly passenger on a flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii talked about the frightening ordeal on Thursday.

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation to Honolulu for off-duty LAPD Detective Ross Nemeroff on May 19, but about two hours into the flight, a 25-year-old Turkish national began screaming and pounding his fists into the plane's walls.

Anil Uskanil, 25, wrapped a blanket around his head and with a laptop in his hands headed toward the cockpit.

Nemeroff said a flight attendant and other passengers sprang into action.

"A hero in that was definitely the flight attendant who used the cart to block his path and get the assistance of some of the biggest guys on the plane that wanted to help out," he said. "One of the proudest moments that I think I had was to see that six passengers - the biggest guys on the plane - all stood up and moved forward immediately..."

The men turned Uskanil around and Nemeroff spent the next few hours keeping him seated and subdued. He wondered how much force he should use if the agitated man started posing another threat.

"It would be a potential deadly force situation. Here's a guy that was possibly going to storm the cockpit, we have a laptop computer. So, that went through my mind and how would that look on TV with somebody videotaping it with a cellphone," Nemeroff shared.

He decided to use LAPD's de-escalation training: Calming the man down. In the end, no handcuffs and no duct tape were used. But there was still concern about the man's laptop possibly exploding.

The pilot dropped the plane down to 5,000 feet and fighter jets began accompanying the jetliner. Flight attendants buried the laptop under baggage.

In the end, the packed jetliner landed safely and Uskanil was taken into federal custody. He faces charges of interfering with a flight crew.

As for Nemeroff, he said after being debriefed by the FBI and the airline, he went on with his vacation.

Related Topics:
lapdlos angeles international airportflight emergencyairport newsairport securityLos AngelesHawaii
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