Air marshal shooting gets mixed reviews

MIAMI, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The shooting death of an airline passenger who claimed he had a bomb in Miami by a U.S. air marshal has drawn both praise and criticism.

Rigoberto Alpizar, 44, was shot aboard American Airlines Flight 924 Wednesday after running down the aisle and claiming he had a bomb just before take-off.


Alpizar, a U.S. citizen originally from Costa Rica, died on the scene, the Miami Herald said. He had arrived in Miami from Quito, Ecuador, earlier Wednesday and was headed to Orlando, Fla.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation, was quick to commend the marshal's action.

"This should send a message to a terrorist or anyone else who is considering disrupting an aircraft with a threat," Mica told The Washington Post.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the agents appeared to have "acted consistent with their extensive training." But he said the investigation of the shooting will be conducted.

However, aviation security consultant Douglas Laird of Laird & Associates said shooting a suspect who claims to be carrying an explosive device could cause a greater threat to passengers if that suspect detonates the bomb after being shot.


"It's a terrible call," the former Northwest Airlines security director said.

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