Published: Wed, May 31, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Man with fake gun wanted to speak to president

Man with fake gun wanted to speak to president

A mentally distressed former Marine who pointed a fake handgun at police in the Orlando International Airport and shouted "kill me" said he wanted to speak to the president, according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.

The affidavit says Pettigrew aimed the fake gun at officers, but no shots were fired and no one was hurt.

"I think when the officers got there, they realized this was a person who was in mental distress and wanted to do the whole suicide by cop thing", said Chief John Mina. Part of the airport was evacuated as hundreds of officers stormed the area, some with their guns drawn.

Pettigrew was initially taken to the hospital for a mental health exam, police said.

Some flights were delayed during the ordeal, but airport operations were returning to normal late Tuesday night.

Orlando police tweeted that authorities would update the media soon Tuesday night. The call about an armed man came in about 7:30 p.m. and the situation was resolved almost three hours later, after a crisis negotiator was called in to help. No shots fired. Suspect is contained. "Min impact to ops", tweeted Orlando International Airport at 8:21 p.m.

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Travelers posted photos and videos to social media that showed the police presence at the airport.

Orlando police urged people not to put out unconfirmed information on Tuesday night during what appeared to be a chaotic scene at the airport.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chairman Frank Kruppenbacher praised the response of law enforcement and airport employees.

Michael Wayne Pettigrew was undergoing a psychological evaluation following the two-hour standoff during which he threatened to harm himself and pointed a fake gun at officers at a rental auto area on the airport's ground floor, Orlando police Chief John Mina said. Police on scene, area contained. Images posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the area and passengers were anxious about missing flights.

All roads leading into the airport have been shut down.

Fennell didn't immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press. Police have called it an attempted "suicide by cop".

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