Pilot Who Threatened to Crash Into Walmart Lands

Mississippi officials report no injuries and say suspect is in custody
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2022 9:05 AM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2022 12:09 PM CDT
Pilot Flying Over Tupelo Threatens to Slam Into Walmart
A small airplane circles over Tupelo, Miss., on Saturday before landing safely in a field.   (Rachel McWilliams via AP)

Update: This file has been updated with the plane landing. A small airplane that circled over a Mississippi city for hours on Saturday morning while the pilot threatened to crash the aircraft into a Walmart store has landed safely in a field, the FAA reported. Gov. Tate Reeves tweeted that the situation had been resolved without any injuries, per CNN. A Benton County Sheriff's dispatcher said the suspect was in custody, per the AP. The plane started circling about 5am local time and was still in the air more than three hours later, per the AP. Tupelo police said they were in direct contact with the pilot during the flight and announced in a Facebook post that the Walmart and a nearby convenience store were evacuated. CNN reported that the plane was stolen.

"Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given," the police wrote. "With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo." Law enforcement told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal shortly after 8am that the plane had left the airspace around Tupelo and was flying near a Toyota manufacturing plant in nearby Blue Springs. Leslie Criss, a magazine editor who lives in Tupelo, woke up early and was watching the situation on TV and social media. Several of her friends were outside watching the plane circle overhead. "I've never seen anything like this in this town," Criss tells the AP. "It's a scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning." More than 300,000 people were tracking the flight on flightradar24, per ABC News.

(Read more Tupelo, Mississippi stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.