Alaska Airlines sees another horror flight as man stabs passenger with a makeshift weapon mid-air

The incident occured as the airplane was about to land in Las Vegas  (Getty Images)
The incident occured as the airplane was about to land in Las Vegas (Getty Images)

A man who allegedly stabbed another passenger during a flight with a makeshift weapon made out of pens and rubber bands has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Julio Alvares Lopez told authorities he intended to kill the victim in an incident on 24 January during an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Las Vegas, according to court documents.

The victim was identified as a sworn law enforcement officer who was across the airplane aisle from Mr Lopez.

A witness said that Mr Lopez began to act “fidgety” during the flight. Around 30 minutes before landing, Mr Lopez got up from his seat and went to the bathroom, and upon return, he began punching and hitting the victim, the documents said.

The witness and the victim’s wife screamed at Mr Lopez to stop.

The witness said, "There was blood everywhere", and claimed that Mr Lopez dropped something that appeared to be a "pen and tape bundle."

The victim’s wife was also struck during the altercation as she shielded her young son who is around seven years old, the court records added.

He was restrained with flex cuffs for the remainder of the flight and was taken into custody by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department once the plane came into land.

Speaking to authorities after the incident, Mr Lopez, who stated he was seeking asylum in the United States, said he felt the mafia had been chasing him for the last few months, the court documents stated.

Lopez said to authorities that he had never seen the victim before the flight but thought that the victim was following him, believing he was the cartel.

He admitted that he armed himself with pens wrapped in rubber bands and stated, "I planned on attacking and killing him.”

He also admitted to FBI agents that he intended to kill the victim and had created the weapon before the flight. Mr Lopez said he was trying to stab the victim in the eye to reach his brain, the court documents said.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement to NBC7 that the incident occurred on flight 604 as the plane was coming in to land at Harry Reid International Airport.

"The aircraft landed safely, and law enforcement took one passenger into custody after the plane arrived at the gate. We’re thankful for our crew for their professionalism in the handling of the incident," the airline said.

The suspect is being held in custody until trial and his arraignment is scheduled for 1 March.

The Independent has contacted Alaska Airlines for comment.