Saturday March 21, 2015 the suspect who attacked a TSA officer and bystanders, at the New Orleans airport, died from gunshot wounds he received in the attack. The New Orleans police department responded to the New Orleans airport on Friday after a man reportedly attacked the TSA officer and other bystanders while he was going through security. Richard White, 63, sprayed employees and travelers with a can of wasp spray. and began attacking people with a machete. One of the officers threw a bag at White in order to slow him down but White continued to spray bystanders with wasp spray and chase after a TSA Officer.
It has been reported that White was not a scheduled passenger on any of the flights out of New Orleans and it is unknown why White went to the airport in the first place. White has a history of small law infractions. He was a taxi driver by trade and does not have a documented history of violence. White died in the hospital hours after attacking the travelers and employees at the New Orleans airport.
White who wielded a machete and tried to cut TSA officer Caroll Richel chased her through the airport. The police officer, Lieutenant Heather Slyve, shot White three times in order to save Richel from being cut by a machete strike. White was shot in his face, thigh and chest. Richel was hit in the arm by one of the bullets intended for White. Richel is thankful that Officer Slyve shot White because the assailant was inches from chopping her. It was also found later that White had a bag of Molotov cocktails with him and during a search of his car officials found that his trunk was full of tanks of Freon, Oxygen, acetylene, which is used in cutting metal, and smoke bombs. The assailant had dropped the bag of Molotov cocktails and Richel is grateful that he dropped the bag because the attack could have been a lot worse if he were allowed to use the cocktails. It has not yet been determined the purpose for the chemicals found in White’s trunk.
Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security released a statement reminding everyone that the TSA officers deal with a variety of different dangerous threats. One of the TSA officers deflected a swipe with the machete by using a bag of luggage. White died from gunshots inflicted in order to save a TSA officer.
The Mayor of New Orleans released a statement commending the TSA and police officers for quickly responding to the attack. The airport was up and running again a few hours after the attack because all of the officers involved responded quickly and strategically. White could have created more damage or hurt people if the officers didn’t respond as quickly as they did.
The police have reported that White’s family has been very accommodating during the investigation. It has been determined that White suffered from a mental illness. White was a Jehovah’s Witness and refused some medical assistance because of religious reasons. The people in White’s life had no indication that anything was wrong. They reported that he was cordial and calm and that nothing was as out of the ordinary.
By Deneishia Jacobpito
Photo by Ken Lund Flickr License