The 29-year-old Mississippi airport worker who reportedly stole a plane a Tupelo, Corey Wayne Patterson, has died in federal custody. Patterson said in court last week that he worked at the Tupelo Regional Airport for about 10 years, fueling planes.
He appeared he was not a licensed pilot, but he reportedly stole a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 90 plane from the airport on September 3. While in the air, Patterson called 911 and reported he would crash the aircraft into the Walmart supermarket in Tupelo.
Due to the threat, local authorities quickly evacuated people from the Walmart store and closed down major streets surrounding the store. Police negotiators then spoke to Patterson and tried to help him land the plane safely in another area of town. A private pilot worked with the police to instruct him on how to land the plane in a field and he did so safely without incident. He was then arrested and taken into custody.
He had been charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats as well as stealing an airplane, but he had pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Tony Farese, had in September requested that he be sent to the detention center in Miami to receive a mental evaluation.
On November 10, he was held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Florida, but died four days later according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Authorities said he was found unresponsive at about 1:20 pm on Monday and EMS officials initiated life-saving efforts to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures,” the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. “Staff requested emergency medical services and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Patterson was subsequently pronounced deceased by EMS personnel.”
The FBI and US Marshals Service have been notified of his death, and the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office said his death will be investigated by the appropriate authorities. Farese said he is working to get his body released to his family in Tupelo so that it can be buried.