The off-duty pilot’s neighbor was shocked to hear that he was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder for allegedly attempting to switch off a plane’s engines during a flight.
On Sunday, during a flight from Seattle to San Francisco, a man named Joseph Emerson, who is a pilot for Alaska Airlines and is 44 years old, was identified as the suspect. He allegedly tried to stop the fuel flow to the engines, but was stopped by the flight crew.
The plane had to make an unplanned stop in Portland, Oregon because the captain and first officer took action to maintain the functioning of the engines.
Authorities have reported that Mr. Emerson was arrested and charged with a total of 167 offenses. These charges include 83 counts of attempted first-degree murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft.
The event has caused great shock and horror in his neighborhood. Ed Yee, a neighbor of the pilot, described the incident as incredibly shocking.
“He appears to be a genuinely kind individual. There is nothing out of the ordinary about him,” he informed CNN.
In 2001, Mr. Emerson became a first officer for Horizon within the Alaska Air Group. He then progressed to become a captain for the airline in 2019.
According to the airline, Mr. Emerson did not have any previous medical problems.
Alaska Airlines stated that during his professional journey, Emerson fulfilled all necessary FAA medical certifications as per regulatory guidelines. It was also stated that he did not face any denials, suspensions, or revocations of his certifications.
The airline reported that Mr. Emerson was a passenger in the jump seat of the flight deck during the flight. He attempted to shut down both of the plane’s engines by pulling the fire extinguisher handles.
CNN reports that officials do not believe the event was an act of terrorism or driven by ideology.
According to The Seattle Times, the plane had 80 passengers on board during the incident. The FBI stated that there were no injuries reported during the flight.
Alaska Airlines verified that all passengers were able to take a later flight for their travel.
The FBI and the Port of Portland police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident, but the motive behind it remains unclear.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is assisting with the investigation, the individual, who is 44 years old, was not certified to pilot the ERJ 175 aircraft that was involved in the incident on Sunday.