A man brandishing what was earlier thought to be a weapon was arrested at Orlando International Airport after more than a two-hour stand-off with police.
The suspect has been identified as 26-year-old Michael Wayne Pettigrew; a former Marine who served from 2009–2012.
According to Orlando Police Chief John Mina, a call came in at 7:28 pm about a man with a gun in a car rental shop of Terminal A. The officers immediately responded and found Pettigrew armed with what turns out to be a ‘simulated hand gun’.
He was said to have pointed the gun at the officers, then to himself; urging the police to ‘shoot him’.
“The subject made several comments, pointed the firearm at the officers, said, ‘Shoot me. Shoot me,’ … actually pointed the gun at his head,” said Mina.
The incident caused panic among the passengers in the airport and a number of flights were delayed.
After nearly three hours of negotiation, Pettigrew eventually yielded, dropped his gun to the floor and surrendered.
“I think when the officers got there, they realized this was a person who was in mental distress and basically wanted to do the whole suicide-by-cop thing,” the official said.
The suspect had been taken into custody for mental evaluation. The police did not say if they will be pressing charges against Pettigrew.
UPDATE: Gunman is in custody. Everyone is safe. Will brief as soon as possible in the media staging area. pic.twitter.com/8sNZ3Vjmv7
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 31, 2017