Police detain rogue pilot who threatened to crash stolen plane into Mississippi Walmart

A pilot circled over a Mississippi Walmart Saturday, threatening to crash into it as authorities communicated with him and tried to talk him down while evacuating the store and other nearby businesses.

(Video Credit: LiveNOW from FOX)

The rogue pilot terrified residents who fearfully watched the skies after the threat.

The potential kamikaze flyer appeared in the sky around 5 a.m. According to authorities, he stole a Beechcraft King plane, then contacted police and told them what he intended to do, according to a press release from the Tupelo Police Department.

“State law enforcement and emergency managers are closely tracking this dangerous situation. All citizens should be on alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced.

Police were in direct contact with the pilot.

“Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given. With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo,” the police warned via a statement on Facebook.

“Negotiations are still in progress” as of 8 a.m. CT, a representative for Lee County’s 9-1-1 emergency response team stated, according to WJTV12.

“Local, State and Federal Authorities are continuing to monitor this dangerous situation,” the police department wrote.

Initial reports that stated the pilot was an employee at Tupelo Regional Airport are said to be false. However, according to officials, he might work for a company that leases space there, according to the Daily Journal.

Police told the Daily Journal shortly after 8 a.m. that the plane had left the airspace around Tupelo and was flying near a Toyota manufacturing plant in nearby Blue Springs.

An online flight tracking service showed the plane meandering in the sky, following a looping, irregular path.

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

“I’ve never seen anything like this in this town,” Criss said in an interview with the Associated Press. “It’s a scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning.”

Former state Rep. Steve Holland, who is a funeral director in Tupelo, reported that he had received calls from families concerned about the plane.

“One called and said, ‘Oh, my God, do we need to cancel mother’s funeral?'” he stated. “I just told them, ‘No, life’s going to go on.'”

According to WTVA, the plane landed southeast of Ashland in a field at 10:24 a.m. an official with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office stated. The pilot, identified as Cory Patterson of Shannon, is now in custody CNN is reporting. He is a 2011 Tupelo High School graduate.

Multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, are now involved in the investigation and are working to determine the pilot’s motive.

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