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Pilot Faces Charges After Threatening to Crash right into a Mississippi Walmart

JACKSON, Miss. Authorities say a guy who stole a plane and flew it over Mississippi after threatening to crash it right into a Walmart store faces charges of grand larceny and terroristic threats.

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said at a press conference that Cory Wayne Patterson didnt have a pilots license but had some flight instruction and was a worker of Tupelo Aviation. Authorities said Patterson stole the plane, became popular and called in the threat to 911.

Quaka said Patterson may possibly also face federal charges. Nobody was injured in the incident.

IT IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. APs earlier story follows below.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) An airplane circled over north Mississippi on Saturday morning, causing panic on the floor because the pilot threatened to crash right into a Walmart. Hours later, the plane landed safely in a field, and police took the pilot into custody.

Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Twitter soon after 10: 30 a.m. that the problem has been resolved and that nobody was injured. He thanked police agencies that helped in bringing the aircraft down.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the plane landed northwest of Ripley, Mississippi, with only the pilot aboard. Benton County Sheriff Dispatcher Connie Strickland also said the plane landed and the topic was taken into custody.

Ripley is approximately 85 miles (137 kilometers) southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, and about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Tupelo, Mississippi, where in fact the flight originated.

The plane started circling over Tupelo at about 5 a.m., the Tupelo Police Department said. Officers evacuated a Walmart and a convenience store in Tupelo due to the pilot threatened to intentionally crash in to the Walmart.

The plane flew over Tupelo a lot more than three hours before flying toward more rural areas. People walked outside and looked toward the skies, a number of them taking photos or cellphone videos.

Authorities believe the aircraft a Beechcraft King Air C90A was stolen and so are attempting to determine if the pilot who threatened to crash the plane can be an employee of an area airport, two different people briefed on the problem told The Associated Press. Multiple federal agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, were mixed up in investigation and so are attempting to discern a motive.

An online flight tracking service showed the plane meandering in the sky for a number of hours and carrying out a looping path.

Leslie Criss, a magazine editor who lives in Tupelo, woke up early and was watching the problem on TV and social media marketing. Many of her friends were outside watching the plane circle overhead.

Ive never seen anything such as this in this town, Criss told The Associated Press. Its a scary solution to awaken on a Saturday morning.

Former state Rep. Steve Holland, who’s a funeral director in Tupelo, said he previously received calls from families worried about the plane.

One called and said, Oh, my God, do we have to cancel mothers funeral?’ Holland said. I simply told them, No, lifes likely to continue.

The airplane drama unfolded as thousands of college football fans were headed to north Mississippi for Saturday football games at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and Mississippi State University in Starkville. Tupelo is between those two cities.

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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