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Mississippi pilot arrested after threatening to crash plane into Walmart: Police

Mississippi police and residents spent their Saturday on high alert when a pilot spent five hours flying a stolen plane — which he threatened to crash into a Walmart shopping center.

The Tupelo Police Department was alerted to the pilot’s threat at 5 a.m. on Saturday, with the plane being flown possibly being a King Air type, according to the department. Police said at around 10:23 a.m. that the pilot had landed and that the pilot, Cory Patterson, had been arrested, according to The Daily Journal.

“State law enforcement and emergency managers are closely tracking this dangerous situation,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves wrote on social media before the suspect landed the plane. “All citizens should be on alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department.”


Patterson is from Shannon, Mississippi, and is a 2011 Tupelo High School graduate, according to the outlet. On Facebook, Patterson wrote a cryptic message combining an apology and a goodbye at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“Sorry everyone,” the message read. “Never actually wanted to hurt anyone. I love my parents and sister this isn’t your fault. Goodbye.”

The Tupelo Police Department will hold a press conference around noon, the outlet reported.

A communications official with the FBI’s field office in Jackson, Mississippi, told the outlet that the bureau, along with its state and local partners, is “aware of the situation” and that it will give out more details “as we have it.”

The plane is confirmed to be a fixed-wing multiengine 1987 Beech C90A model and is believed to have been stolen. The pilot is also confirmed by police to be an employee of the Tupelo Regional Airport, according to Fox News.

A Dodges eatery and gas station located near the Walmart has also been evacuated in order to disperse people “as much as practical,” according to police. Roads in western Tupelo and near the airport have since been reopened, according to local reporting.


The pilot’s motive behind the threats is unclear. Police officers are saying that they will release more information on the situation “when appropriate.”

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