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posted on May, 20 2017 @ 07:46 AM

It had already been a pisser of a day with a get up at 04:00 for our 06:45 departure out of Newark International airport. The van ride and getting through airport security, then making our way to flight operations and our assigned gate of departure; was just all in a days work. It was just to darn early to feel like a big toothy smile for most of us !

The departure had been uneventful... weather was clear blue and 92... and the crew I had on this trip were all good people to work with. Since the company had changed the the coffee vender the coffee was not what you would classify as good but it was more or less drinkable; which was an improvement. .

This was just the first half of our trip but we should pick up another pilot (called an international relief officer... IRO) at LAX who could share some of the work load of Honolulu's six hour and thirty minute scheduled flight. We had worked the flight from Houston to Newark the day before; arriving at our New York hotel by 18:00 hours local.

My first officer was senior enough she could have been a junior Captain in Guam but she preferred 20/21 days a month off and the joys of being able to get her first ten or fifteen choices to fly each month from our monthly bid package. The bid package for our aircraft had almost 200 lines of time with various destinations for each month. The lines started with 21 days a month off and the last lines of time or reserve lines had 8 days a month off. It could really suck being junior and stuck on reserve.

The winds at altitude were not to bad so we made our first stop in LAX ( Los Angeles, Calif.) in under-schedule, which was great. Instead of one hour and thirty minutes ground time, we had almost two and a half hours to kill. The crew, or rather our six flight attendants decided to head for one of the restaurants in the international terminal building. That was fine with me for we would be leaving from that terminal to continue on our trip to Honolulu. Quite a bag drag to get there but the food was not to bad (flight attendants always know where there is the best airport food to be found) and as we ate, the general chit chat was nice without some of the usual airline bitching about, whatever (?).

We were just about ready to pay for our individual eatery bills when I could have sworn I heard gunfire; more like 3 loud pops. The acoustics from inside the restaurant and all the way out in the airport terminal hallway were not all that great, so I wasn't sure what the pops were. People were looking around trying to determine what the sound was when there was a long string of unmistakeable automatic fire from down the hallway coupled with some female screaming. Two more pops and the screaming stopped. I saw a few people running past the entry door to our restaurant......they did not look like they were running to catch a flight, so by their looks I assumed they were running for their lives.

The whole crew looked at me with the look of, “WTF do we do now” ?

We were basically trapped for there was only one entrance into this eatery unless there was a fire exit I had not seen ? I told Mary my F.O. to see if she could find a fire exit, but keep low as I told the rest of the crew to get down on the floor,”NOW”!

I low crawled to the entry of the restaurant (not easy do do in full uniform) so if I were lucky, anyone who came through the double wide entry and carrying a long gun I might be able to go for the gun. I had always sworn I would never go down without a fight.. OK... not the greatest plan but that was all I had at the moment.

In short order I was joined by two men in civilian attire and I recognized one of them as a Sky Marshal by the name of John. He had worked a few of my flights before and by procedure the lead Sky Marshal would always tell the Captain that there were Sky Marshals on board and what seats they would be occupying. The Marshals would then brief the flight crew if there were any particular security concerns they knew of for the flight..

I asked John if he was armed and he just said, “I never leave home without it” as he pulled what looked like a .40 caliber Glock from his waist band holster.

“OK you guys got the entry way covered so I am going back to my crew and see if there is another exit out of this place”.. They nodded their approval as I did my snake imitation and slithered back to our once peaceful table. At least our newly appointed entry way guards knew better than to take a pistol to a rifle fight; so they were hunkered down and waiting.

Mary showed up about the same time I reached our table's hiding spot to report that she had found the fire exit, but it was one of those kind of doors that if you opened it a fire alarm would go off...... My first thought was get the alarm going but then I reasoned it would just draw attention to our location. After another short burst of automatic fire, which was certainly closer, I was rather seriously motivated to tell the crew, “follow Mary and head for the fire exit door!”

The other patrons had been watching us not knowing what to do, but as we made our way to the section that hid the fire exit door several people found the courage to follow us; probably due to our uniforms.

The gun fire was more single shots now which I could only assume were well placed shots at targets of opportunity.

Myself and all seven crew members arrived at the fire exit followed by at least fifteen other patrons of the restaurant. When we stood before the door some guy started saying “Open the damn door” !

Mary, who was never a loss for words told him if we open the door the alarm will sound and whoever is doing the shooting will know we are here and trying to escape. He let go with a string of cuss words and started to push her out of the way. His back was to me and I thought about putting his lights out with a hammer blow to the base of his skull and neck but instead I just grabbed a big hand full of his well manicured hair and jerked his head back with such force as my leg tripped him that he ended up straight on his back with a swelling bump on the back of his head... The head or the floor; floor wins every time. He was dazed but I told him, “If he touched one my crew members again I will personally take it as someone trying to commit bodily harm to one of my crew . Stop now.... and I will not have to mention interfering with a crew member; which is a federal offense, a 250,000 dollar fine, and some serious jail time !”

(That was a bit of a stretch or rather an out right lie..... however,“the feds are coming, money, and jail” usually quiets even the most determined idiot down).

He started to get up like he was going to fight me so I planted my heal rather quickly, and very hard into the area just below his rib cage. He couldn't talk after that brief exchange for I had absolutely knocked all the air out of him. He went into the fetal position as he grasped for breath. With the mood I was in and the Adrenalin clouding my thoughts he was lucky I hadn't heal stomped his face in.

posted on May, 20 2017 @ 07:47 AM

A girl friend or a wife came to his rescue with threat that she would sue but Mary was there to tell her, “The Captain is trying to keep everyone alive including the armed air marshals at the entrance”. The mention of the “Armed Air Marshals” seemed to do the trick of shutting her up.

So here we were, one foot away from possible freedom, yet knowing if the door was opened it would be like a locator beacon for the bad guy or guys. Even though Mary's thoughtful statement seemed to shut the protective woman up for the moment, I was sure there would be hell to pay at a later date if we survived that long.

I found out later the guy I had almost snatched bald headed was named Mark Armstrong and was a frequent flyer on our airline..

Looking around our group I spied one of the restaurant waitresses who had also gathered in our huddled mass of scared people. I asked her if there were any big knifes in the kitchen? She seemed to think there were so I asked her if she could sneak into the kitchen and get all the big sharp ones she could find? She was hesitant at first but Susan, one of my senior flight attendants, said she would go with her.

While all of this had been going on the occasional gun fire never ceased . A few single shots but no more auto burst. After each sporadic pause it did seem like the gun fire was moving down the hallway towards our position.

Susan and the waitress with 6 other people returned with half a dozen knives and I was able to select a couple that should do the trick.

The emergency exit door had a wire that supplied power to the alarm light and bell when the door was opened. If I could cut the wire without being electrocuted we would be able to open the door without all the bells, lights, and whistles . No problem in finding the wire but cutting it would not be easy. I stuck the butcher knife between the wall and the wire and tried to pry the wire out a little so I could get the sharp edge of the blade against the wire. Whoever installed this door alarm was a pro for there were two keepers holding the wire against the wall. As I pulled down upon the handle of the blade the first keeper gave way but so did the blade of the butcher knife.. It broke clean apart. Susan just handed me the next biggest knife while mumbling, “made in China”.

Now with the slight space between the wall and wire I was able to use the wall as a brace and the blade against the wire. Thank goodness the guy who installed the wire used a mufti-strand copper wire instead of one big wire or I might not have been able to cut the darn thing ! I made short work of the wire once I could get a sharpened blade upon it.

While I had been busy with the wire my out of breath prior foe (Mark the “open the damn door” man) had regained his footing and breath. I looked at him and asked if he could take everyone down the fire exit to the outside and hopefully safety. He looked rather surprised at my offer but mumbled something to the effect he would get everyone out.

I opened the fire exit and was greeted with silence except for new shots coming down the terminals main hallway; our hallway. Needless to say when the door was opened people started moving.
After everyone had entered the exit there was just Mary and myself standing there. She had a butcher knife in one hand and her inflight over night bag's handle in her other hand.

“Mary I am going to go tell the Marshals the exit is open and they are welcome to come and get to heck out of here “.

She nodded and said, “I will wait for you here”.

I started to tell her to go but I could tell she thought it was important to stay so I just tapped her on her shoulder and started my snake routine once again as I rounded the short wall that hid the fire exit and the way back to the Sky Marshal's positions.

When we had entered the restaurant the crew and I had come from the same direction the shots were being fired . Next to the restaurant was a gift shop and when we had passed the small shop I had seen a rather large Black woman who appeared to be working as a cashier. The reason I bring this fact up; about the time I reached the Marshals location there was a loud woman's voice who said, “Don't you be point-en that thang at me or I will” Boom and there was no more voice to utter a protest about anything. Whoever was doing the shooting was next door.

The Sky Marshals were both hunkered down with guns drawn and as I reached Marshal John, he held out a small .38 revolver he had carried in is leg holster for me to take. I had not planned on staying, for my idea had been more of a slither by and tell them “lets leave” type plan. But as the situation had developed it really was better for us to stay concealed or we might be caught out in the open spaces of the restaurant thereby ending this game of survival in favor of the Bad Guy (s).

We did not have long to wait or even discuss any future plans for I had no sooner checked the .38 to be sure it had bullets than our bad guy arrived at the restaurant entrance..

Since we were down below the big windows at the front of the restaurant the first thing we saw was what appeared to be the mussel of an AK-47 poking around the door frame. If I had been alone that is where and when I would have gone for the rifle. This bad guy was no pro (was my first thought) for exposing the mussel of his rifle in this manner would give anyone a chance of a snatch and grab for the barrel and enable a possible disarm.

Alas, except for an armed security detail airports are gun free zones and it is easy to shoot unarmed people if you have the desire for it; professional or not..

Our bad guy was hesitating at the door way; I suppose trying to figure out where everyone was. Then out of the back of the restaurant I heard Mary say in a rather loud voice, “ Hurry up he is here everyone out the exit” !

That was all our bad guy needed to go rushing through the doorway in hot pursuit of anyone who might have a chance of getting away.

He was met by at least 30 rounds of .40 caliber from the Sky Marshal's Glocks and for my two cents worth of pee shooter .38 fire, I hit him in both his legs and the combat boots he was wearing; more than once.

Man it had been a long time since I shot a gun in a closed space and the sound had my ears ringing to the point of me thinking my hearing would be damaged forever !

As our bad guy lay bleeding out he actually had enough strength to reach for some black plastic stone looking thing he had hung around his neck. I did not know if this was a detonator for some explosive device or what, but, as the Marshals were doing a quick mag change I aimed for the black looking stone and shot the last two shots my .38 pistol had in it's 8 cylinders. What ever the black thing was it shattered along with our new acquaintance's wrist and fingers. We later found out that with all his body armor he had worn that day only 6 shots would have been classified as eventually fatal. In all the excitement no head shots were used by the Marshals which surprised me ..? If there ever is a next time I know where I want to aim !

As the Sky Marshals were clearing the body of any more possible weapons Mary came running up with her butcher knife and for all intents and purposes looked like she was ready to cut his head off.. Gotta love that girl, and I do in a professional sort of way.

edit on 727thk17 by 727Sky because: ..

posted on May, 20 2017 @ 07:50 AM
Needless to say there was allot of finger pointing about security at the airport and many politicians calling for some kind of new gun control.. “The Perp was a damn SWAT team member in L.A.” but it really didn't matter to those who wanted to disarm everyone except for themselves..

One man being interviewed said, “They can basically strip search my 80 year old wheel chair bound grand mother in the name of safety, or molest my 10 year old daughter, but can't stop a heavily armed lunatic from going on for almost an hour of killing people !”

Our company flew us back to our home base “First Class” and the Chief Pilot debriefed Mary and myself and thanked us both for not giving any impromptu press briefings. We did do a local news spot as per the companies request so I guess we got our 5 minutes of fame... Something Mary and I both could have done without.. We both had to stop greeting or saying goodbye to passengers at the cockpit door for several months afterward... To much of a traffic jam with autograph seekers...

With this month's line of time not being finished (this was our first trip of the month) we would pick back up our line of flying time (Houston-Newark-Lax-Honolulu then direct to Houston after our short lay-over in Honolulu) next Friday; just as if nothing had happened. The rest of the month and our next two trips all went according to plan... on time on schedule..

I had been wrong about the bad guy not being a professional. He had worn body armor just like a SWAT Team member, which he was as I already mentioned. His name had been Mohammed Esterie and was actually a member of Swat Team 4 in L..A. Maybe he had been doing prayers when the proper way to enter a room with a rifle had been discussed ?

Mr. Esterie had evidently been threatened with dismissal from the L.A. Police SWAT team because of his demands to prey 5 times a day at set times; regardless of what was going on around him. Of course none of this came out in the main stream news for it would have been bad P.R. and the whole jobs vetting process and program would have been shown to be a total joke.

Mohammed Esterie was a natural born citizen of the United States. His parents had fled the Mid-East (Iraq) to come to America for a better way of life over 29 years ago. He was 29 years of age at his time of death for his mother had given birth to her little darling just one month after their arrival into the states.

After some really good background investigation it was found that Mr. Esterie and a group of like minded individuals had been meeting in an old abandoned two story house. They had figured their Mosque was being monitored and possibly bugged by the FBI therefore they thought the house was perfect to hatch their evil plans.

The Drudge report I saw showed a house with rooms of old stacked furniture along with dust, dirt, and cobwebs everywhere. There was only one room upstairs which might have been called semi clean. This room was where 18 prayer mats were located along with 18 chairs and a table.

The police investigators were able to find a rather large weapon storage and even plastic explosives in an area that was once a subway tram tunnel. The tunnel had been used several years ago but was now supposedly closed off to the public. All it was used for at present was to carry underground cables and power lines to various above ground substations and buildings..

In total there were 12 people arrested from Mr. Esterie's Mosque and another warrant was put out for 6 more named individuals... who are still on the run.

From what the Drudge report said, this group was planning lone wolf attacks on public areas once a month for the next 18 months. They had figured many of the politicians would demand all the privately held guns to be turned in by the American public. This would enable their future brothers, along with others of their demented belief system, to be the only armed individuals in all the newly created gun free zones. With the financing and across the border contacts it would appear they certainly had not had problems with getting weapons for their planned attacks.

Great plan and it might have worked except for a jealous wife who had covertly followed her husband to the old house where many of the future plans had been made. Upon her husbands arrest (another individual by the name of Mohammad) she had told everything she knew to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, she has now been killed by an unknown assailant.

Main stream news has been rather absent since the first few days of the shooting; almost as if they want to bury the story ?

One of my original flight attendants quit working and she and her husband moved to Georgia where they are retired now. The rest of the crew are still working and I see them occasionally either in some hallway or one one of my flights.

I am alive as are my crew and as far as I am concerned Mr. Esterie can now talk directly with his Skyfairy between engagements with his 72 virgins; who I hope turn out to actually be Christen hairy legged Virginians who hate Radical Muslim guys . Now that would be some kinda justice ?


edit on 727thk17 by 727Sky because: ..

posted on May, 20 2017 @ 08:50 AM
Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing your traumatic story!! Really would love to hear more about this....when did this happen? Completely terrifying but you and everyone that helped should be commended! Very courageous acts and what an honor that you would share this with all of us!! No telling how many lives you saved! I am so sorry for what you witnessed and went through though.

What is your background? Military or Law Enforcement? I'm wondering because you seem to know exactly what to do and did so with speed and accuracy. Maybe I missed this part...and you should consider writing as a second career! Very well written account of what you experienced!

Thank you again,


posted on May, 20 2017 @ 09:03 AM
Pax it is a fictional story straight from my feeble brain... I guess I should have included fictional at the end.. But thanks for the comment

posted on May, 20 2017 @ 10:49 AM
a reply to: 727Sky

Well i'm glad it is!! but damn i was riveted!! What else have you written? See you made a believer out of me! But more importantly you held my interest....So you need to continue this ...just sayin....and yes it seemed believable enough! But go back and include the main characters back ground so the reader understands a little more why he knows so much about how to counter attack and how to disarm fire alarm..why he knew exactly how to bring the other guy down without really hurting him....I mean why him vs. someone else in the story...

posted on May, 21 2017 @ 03:14 AM
I was at the edge of my seat!
Good job Sky!

posted on May, 23 2017 @ 10:13 AM
Well told story.

Very realistic.

Thank you.

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