A Utah man has been charged after wielding a straight edge razor on a JetBlue flight from New York City to Salt Lake City on Monday, authorities said.
Merrill Darrell Fackrell, a 41-year-old man from Syracuse, Utah, boarded the flight and sat next to a married couple, according to an affidavit obtained by USA TODAY.
During the flight, he allegedly placed his hand in front of a woman’s screen and told her to pause the movie she was watching. She took off her headphones and realized the man “had his hand clutched” with the razor “inches from her skin at her throat/neck area near the collar of her shirt,” according the the affidavit.
Fackrell allegedly stood up and yelled “she’s going to be OK” and “no one needs to worry,” before the woman’s husband went to the front of the plane to alert a flight attendant.
As the woman tried to move into the aisle of the plane, Fackrell allegedly “reached for her and tried to stop her by grabbing her shoulder,” the affidavit said. But the woman ran towards the front of the plane, too.
The couple was not identified by name in the affidavit. Another passenger, who was also not named, got Fackrell to give up the blade, which other passengers first thought was a knife. It was later identified as a wood-handled straight edge razor with a one- to two inch blade, according to the affidavit.
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Fackrell has been charged with carrying a weapon on an aircraft and assault with a dangerous weapon in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. USA TODAY has reached out to Fackrell’s attorney for comment.
The Transportation Security Administration in a statement to USA TODAY confirmed it is working with law enforcement officials following the incident.
“We take our responsibility to secure the skies for the traveling public very seriously and are introducing new x-ray technology at more airports to improve our capability to better detect items such as the one used in this incident,” the TSA said in its statement.
JetBlue in a statement to USA TODAY said the crew on the flight “responded by working to de-escalate the situation and notified law enforcement who met the flight in Salt Lake City.” The airline said it will assist law enforcement officials investigating.
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