Airport worker who stole plane and threatened to crash it into supermarket dies in prison

17 November 2022, 21:28

Cory Patterson threatened to crash a stolen plane into a Walmart
Cory Patterson threatened to crash a stolen plane into a Walmart. Picture: Facebook

By Will Taylor

An airport worker who stole a plane and then threatened to crash it into a supermarket has died in prison.

Cory Patterson was found unresponsive in a Miami jail on Monday.

He had been held on charges of threatening terrorism and grand larceny, which could have seen him get up to two decades in prison if convicted, and is understood to have faced accusations of destroying an aircraft.

His cause of death was not immediately confirmed.

"Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures. Staff requested emergency medical services… and life-saving efforts continued," the US Bureau of Prisons said.

Patterson was said to have flown a Beechcraft King Air C90A out of Tupelo airport in Mississippi – the state the 29-year-old came from – and flown in circles on September 3.

He worked at the airport fuelling planes.

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He threatened to crash the plane into a Walmart supermarket during his five-hour stint in the cockpit.

However, after police intervened to speak to him, he eventually landed the plane in a field, having flown almost 50 miles from the airport he took off at as a private pilot explained how to land.

A note found in the plane said he picked Walmart "because it would be quick and easy to evacuate", while he had also taken aim at what he described as the supermarket giant's low payment of workers.

Patterson was arrested later that month and a psychological evaluation was ordered.

It was reported a possible suicide note was posted online before he took the plane.