Passenger stabs fellow traveler with weapon of pens and rubber bands on Seattle-to-Vegas flight

A passenger aboard a Las Vegas-bound flight fashioned a weapon out of pens and rubber bands and stabbed a fellow passenger in a bloody, unprovoked attack, officials said Thursday.

The passenger with the eye injury. (USDC District of Nevada)
The passenger with the eye injury. (USDC District of Nevada)

Julio Alvarez Lopez was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from the Jan. 24 attack aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 604, which had left Seattle at 6:10 a.m., authorities said.

“The aircraft landed safely, and law enforcement took one passenger into custody after the plane arrived at the gate,” the airline said in statement to NBC News on Thursday. “We’re thankful for our crew for their professionalism in the handling of the incident.”

Lopez had been acting “fidgety,” a person sitting next to him told investigators, before he went to the bathroom late in the flight and returned to launch an attack on the man seated across the aisle, according to a complaint by FBI Special Agent Anthony Needler.

There was “blood everywhere,” according to Lopez’s seat neighbor.

Lopez eventually stopped the stabbing, dropped the homemade weapon, moved toward the front of the plane, yelled, “I’ll only talk to the FBI,” and took an empty seat, according to the complaint.

The court document included pictures of the unidentified victim, who appeared to have bruises and cuts around his right eye.

A bloody hand holding pens wrapped in rubber bands. (USDC District of Nevada)
A bloody hand holding pens wrapped in rubber bands. (USDC District of Nevada)

“The defendant armed himself with pens wrapped in rubber bands,” the complaint said. “The defendant stated, ‘I planned on attacking and killing him.’”

Lopez was restrained and taken into custody when the Boeing 737-900 landed at Terminal 3 of Harry Reid International Airport, officials said.

Lopez had never met the victim, yet believed him to be a cartel agent following him, authorities said.

“The defendant felt the Mafia had been chasing him the last few months,” the complaint said.

The victim, identified only by the initials C.R., just happened to be a sworn law enforcement officer, though the complaint did not list the agency that employs him.

The victim’s wife was also hurt in the attack as she was shielding the couple’s 7-year-old son, officials said.

“During the interview, the defendant admitted to the FBI agents that he was trying to stab C.R. in the eye to reach C.R.’s brain to kill him,” according to the complaint.

Lopez’s federal public defender could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

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