Antonio Murdock reportedly felt claustrophobic in the plane which triggered his PTSD from his time in jail.
Two passengers deplaned from a moving Delta flight bound for Atlanta along with a dog by using the emergency slide, causing panic in an incident at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday morning. Antonio Murdock, 31, and Brianna Greco, 23, of Florida, were the two people who exited the plane using the emergency slide just before takeoff. The incident was confirmed by an airline spokesman. Antonio Murdock reportedly deplaned as a result of his PTSD being triggered from being in a confined space. The flight was delayed and passengers had to be accommodated on other flights as the flight's technical personnel inspected the plane. Murdock and Greco face charges of third-degree criminal trespass, said Lenis Valens, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokeswoman. She confirmed that Murdock was additionally charged with second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree reckless endangerment, reported CNN.
The service dog that reportedly the pair had with them was taken to a Brooklyn animal shelter and Brianna Greco was given a receipt to retrieve the dog, said Valens. Casey Johnson, a Manhattan resident, confirmed that the pair switched seats with the couple and their dog at their gate. Casey, who was flying home to his family in Panama City Beach, Florida, said there was nothing odd about the couple and that they were pleasant in their interaction with them. Casey described Murdock as "soft-spoken" and added that the couple asked to switch seats to accommodate their dog. As per Delta's Coronavirus policy, middle seats are left empty. However, Casey Johnson was surprised to find that the couple had then switched his seat to move forward. "I do actually remember thinking, 'Well, you guys just asked me to swap rows with you because you wanted to be in the back, and now all of a sudden you decided you want to be forward,'" said Johnson. He soon noticed there was a commotion upfront. "And the next thing I know, I look up while we're moving, and I just see ... I see lots of people standing up, and I see like four people running towards the front of the plane. And at this point those must have been passengers that were running to try to, like, stop the person," Johnson said. He didn't see the pair and the dog take the emergency slide to deplane, but noticed the emergency exit at the front, near the cockpit, was open. The pilot had announced someone had deployed the emergency exit but didn't mention anyone exiting the plane.
"The passengers activated the emergency slide and exited the aircraft onto the ramp," Maria Njoku, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, told USA TODAY. "The passengers were subsequently arrested by law enforcement." The incident forced the flight to be delayed. The plane was stationed at the tarmac for more than an hour before returning to the gate and deplaning the rest of the passengers. "Maintenance technicians have evaluated the aircraft, and (it) is scheduled to return to service this evening," said Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant.
According to The Daily Mail, Antonio Murdock told Port Authority police that being in a confined space had triggered his post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in jail on robbery charges. Murdock reportedly jumped from the plane, as the inflatable chute unfurled to the ground. His stunned partner, Greco grabbed her dog and followed suit, jumping onto the chute after him. Flight attendant Kasey Williamson said Murdock threatened to 'pop the door.' "I need to get off the plane, I don't want to sit here," said Murdock, according to court documents. Murdock is awaiting Tuesday arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, while Greco is set to appear in court on March 21, said the Queens District Attorney's Office.