BOSTON — A Leominster man has been indicted on federal charges after he allegedly attacked a flight attendant and attempted to open an airplane’s emergency door on a Boston-bound flight earlier this year, officials announced Wednesday.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts.
Torres, a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston, was initially charged by a criminal complaint on March 6, 2023, following his arrest at Logan International Airport.
In charging documents, federal prosecutors stated, “Approximately 45 minutes prior to landing, the flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a starboard side door located between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft was disarmed. Upon inspection, a flight attendant found that the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position – approximately a quarter of the way towards the unlocked position – and that the emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the ‘disarmed’ position. The flight attendant reported this to the captain and flight crew after securing the door and emergency slide.”
Flight attendants told the captain he needed to land the aircraft “as soon as possible” after reporting that they believed Torres “posed a threat” to the safety of the flight, according to prosecutors. A short while later, a video taken by a passenger allegedly showed Torres yelling at points that he would “kill every man on this plane” and “I’m taking over this plane.”
Torres then allegedly thrust at one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the attendant on the neck area three times. Passengers then tackled Torres and he was restrained with the assistance of the flight crew.
Torres was immediately taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival to Boston.
During subsequent interviews with investigators, passengers claimed Torres asked a fellow passenger where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located during the flight attendants’ safety briefing prior to takeoff and that Torres was seen pacing in a galley before attacking the flight attendant, according to prosecutors.
Torres was deemed not competent to stand trial in July after a judge determined that he needed more treatment at the Federal Medical Center in Devens.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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