OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — A Georgia man has been charged in federal court for erratic behavior that caused the Delta flight he was on to take emergency measures and divert to Will Rogers World Airport Friday.
Stephon Jamar Duncan, 34, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, was charged Monday with one count of “interference with flight crew members and attendants” by Acting United States Attorney Robert J. Troester in the Western District of Oklahoma.
Duncan, who is a Delta Airlines flight attendant, was off-duty at the time on a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
He made statements in flight that he thought he was “seated next to a terrorist” and became combative with the flight crew when they tried to stop him from making announcements
If convicted, Duncan could receive up to 20 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 fine, followed by three years of supervised release.
Three Oklahoma City Police Department officers arrested Duncan once Delta Flight #1730 was on the ground in Oklahoma City. The FBI then placed a hold on Duncan and joined OKCPD in the investigation which led to the charges in federal court.
“Strange and paranoid”
The OKCPD report by the arresting officers contained statements from several people, some of whom were both on-duty and off-duty Delta personnel.
Airlines regularly ferry their own flight attendants and cabin crew to airports where they are needed to pick up flight assignments. Duncan was on the flight for that purpose along with several other Delta employees including an off-duty Delta pilot.
On-duty and off-duty crew and some other passengers eventually restrained Duncan who was agitated and behaving in what on-duty flight attendants called “strange and paranoid behavior.”
According to the police report, crew members had heard him making statements about “being seated next to a terrorist” and stashing personal items in an array of places throughout the plane.
A flight attendant retrieved those items and turned them over to police who reported that they were “tennis balls with writings on them, trash and food.”
One of the on-duty flight attendants told police that Duncan handed a note to them earlier that was written on a receipt.
The note read: “”I AM ATL BASED ———–ALERT DELTA MANAGER —TERRORIST ON BOARD.
Eventually Duncan’s behavior became more extreme. On off-duty Delta pilot told police that Duncan went to the plane’s intercom system and announced that “the plane is being taken over” and would be “going under 10,000 feet.”
When the on-duty flight crew began to tell Duncan to stop and tried to get him away from the front of the plane he bagan physically attacking the crew.
According to statements made to police, Duncan “used his forearm” and shoved one flight attendant against the wall.
The police report says that Duncan slammed an off-duty flight attendant against a wall and started choking her.
Several of the flight crew as well as off-duty Delta personnel and some passengers scuffled with Duncan as they tried to get him to leave the galley area of the plane near the flight cabin.
Eventually they were able to subdue Duncan in the isle. When police entered the landed plan they said Duncan had been “flex cuffed” and was in seat.
A trial date was not given by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Last Updated June 15, 2021, 4:20 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor