Man arrested with fake gun at airport is a veteran with a bad conduct discharge


– The 26-year-old former who brandished a fake handgun Tuesday night at International Airport triggered a police standoff by handing his phone to a woman, telling her to call 911 and saying he wanted to speak to the president, according to an police affidavit.

Michael of has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer. He was taken into custody for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act and transported to Orange County Jail.

“The subject made several comments, pointed the firearm at the officers, said, ‘Shoot me. Shoot me,’ … actually pointed the gun at his head,” Police Chief John Mina said during an airport news conference after the incident.

It wasn’t until after arrest about 10 p.m. that officers discovered his handgun was fake, Mina said.

had a bad conduct discharge from the Corps in October 2011 for stabbing a corporal in the face and arm with a knife. He was sentenced to seven months of confinement, a court-martial order shows.

On Tuesday, authorities received a 911 call shortly after 7:20 p.m. from a Mears Transportation cashier who said there was a man at her counter with a gun, the arrest affidavit shows.

What’s more, the man handed the cashier his phone and told her to call 911 and bring the police – and he said that he wanted to speak to the president, according to the affidavit.

Airport police quickly responded to the rental car area on the first level of Terminal A, Mina said.

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In a report, an police officer said he saw assume a shooting stance and point his fake gun at another officer. Passengers were running in all directions during those chaotic moments, the affidavit states.

The officer in sights began to raise the muzzle of his AR-15 rifle. But after seeing the large crowd of passengers running everywhere, he sought cover rather than opening fire, according to the affidavit.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Central Florida responded to the airport, and Florida Highway Patrol troopers shut down roads leading to the airport. Some flights were delayed, said Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the Greater Airport.

Negotiators convinced to drop his weapon near his feet, and he laid on the ground near it, Mina said. After speaking with police officers and negotiators, peacefully surrendered, Mina said.

“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,” Mina said.

No injuries were reported. Kruppenbacher called the disturbance “a very dangerous situation” that was contained by police near the rental car counters.

“You couldn’t have a better resolution. No one was hurt. The airport continued to operate on the other side,” Kruppenbacher said, referring to Terminal B.

Kruppenbacher said there was no known link between and the airport.

After the arrest, Gov. Rick Scott tweeted his thanks Tuesday night.

“I want to thank law enforcement for their quick response and efforts to put the suspect in custody and keep families safe @MCO,” Scott tweeted.

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