Rageit Almurisi, Passenger Who Allegedly Tried to Break into Cockpit, Is 'Not a Terrorist'
|Rageit Almurisi had passengers on Flight 1561 twisted up in knots|
At about 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Rageit Almurisi, 28, allegedly got up from his seat and was yelling unintelligibly as he stormed to the cockpit and tried to bang the door down. Thankfully, he was wrestled to the ground by law enforcers who just happened to be passengers on American Airlines Flight 1561, which had departed from Chicago O'Hare.
While Almurisi sat in jail on Monday, some of his relatives came to his defense, saying he was a nice guy who spoke little English. He was not religious and didn't drink alcohol.
Almurisi didn't come off that way to passengers on the American Airlines flight, who told reporters that the "burly man" scared the hell out of them. As one passenger recalls, he got up out of his seat shortly after the captain announced they were half an hour from San Francisco. According to the Chronicle, he walked "briskly" to the cockpit door and started yelling in Arabic, which was later translated by another passenger who spoke the language as "God is Great."
He then rammed his shoulder into the cockpit door, clearly trying to break it open.
"It wasn't innocent at all, the way he was screaming and how quickly he was walking," passenger Angelina Marty told the Chronicle. "You knew he was going to do something. It was by far the scariest thing I've ever been through."
His family told reporters that passengers might have misinterpreted his behavior and overreacted simply because of his Middle Eastern appearance.
"I know he wasn't trying to harm anyone," his cousin says. "He's not that type of person."