Rogue plane lands, pilot in custody after threatening to hit Mississippi Walmart

A pilot of a small plane over Tupelo, Mississippi, is in custody after threatening to crash into a nearby Walmart on Saturday, police confirmed to Axios.

The last: “The plane is down and it has landed. The subject is in custody,” a Benton County Sheriff’s Office official told Axios.

Driving the news: The plane began circling the city around 5 a.m., the Tupelo, Mississippi, police department said in a Facebook post. Police were able to speak with the pilot as he drove around town.

  • The plane flew over several communities in northeast Mississippi, WTVA reports.
  • CNN Aviation correspondent Pete Muntean said the plane was also seen flying over Holly Springs National Forest, which covers a wide swath of northeast and north-central Mississippi, including near of the area where the plane allegedly crashed.

Details: Police say the pilot initially threatened to “intentionally crash into Wal-Mart on West Main,” police said.

  • The Walmart store is located near a range of other businesses, including a convenience store, car wash and more.
  • Shoppers and Walmart staff were evacuated and people moved away from the area, TPD said.

The context: Police said the plane could be a King Air type, seating seven to 12 passengers, reports The Washington Post.

  • CNN’s Muntean told the air the plane type has a window of four to six hours before it runs out of fuel.
  • TPD, Tupelo Airport and the Mississippi Department of Security did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

What they say : “State law enforcement and emergency officials are closely monitoring this dangerous situation,” Prefects said on Twitter. “All citizens should be alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department.”

What we are looking at: Discussions between the pilot and the TPD began early Saturday.

  • “Citizens are urged to avoid this area until a green light is given. With the mobility of an aircraft of this type, the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo,” the TPD said. .

This is breaking news and will be updated.