Las Vegas-bound Airline Passenger Charged with Alleged Assault

Published date: February 22, 2024, 01:55h.

Last update date: February 22, 2024, 02:03.

A passenger who allegedly beat a man while they were both on a flight to Las Vegas was indicted Wednesday.

A sign for Harry Reid International Airport
Pictured above is the Harry Reid International Airport sign. A passenger who landed at the airport was arrested for allegedly attacking his friend. (Image: KUNR)

The defendant, Julio Lopez, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in last month’s attack, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS. He is due to appear in Las Vegas federal court next week.

The incident on January 24 occurred after an Alaska Airlines flight took off from Seattle’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In the middle of the flight, Lopez allegedly threw a punch, hitting his fellow passenger and the victim’s wife.

According to the FBI arrest report, during the fight, (the victim’s) wife was yelling at the defendant to stop hitting her husband. There was “blood everywhere”.

The FBI said another nearby passenger also ordered Lopez to stop the attack.

Suspect Arrested

A security officer on the plane also asked Lopez to sit down. Until the plane arrived in Las Vegas, flight attendants “applied flexible handcuffs and the defendant was restrained for the remainder of the flight,” according to the FBI.

The unnamed victim was sitting next to Lopez. There was no description of the victim’s injuries.

Lopez was described in the FBI report as “fidgety” while on the plane, Las Vegas TV station KVVU reported. He proceeded to get up from his seat and made the long journey to the restroom on the plane.

It was also revealed that Lopez was in possession of a homemade gun. It was made of pencils and rubber bands, KLAS reported.

When the flight landed at Harry Reid International Airport at 8:37 a.m., Lopez was taken into custody by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and booked into a police station in Terminal 3.

Lopez told authorities that he “felt the mob was following him” and “planned to attack and kill him (the passenger).” He added that the victim was affiliated with the “cartel” and was following him, according to KVVU.

Asylum Requested

Lopez also said he plans to seek asylum in the United States, according to KVVU. There is no information on whether Lopez is a foreign national or an immigrant or visitor to the United States.

At one point, Lopez asked to speak to FBI agents. The FBI took over the investigation into the attack.

It appears that no flight crew were injured during the flight.

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