Passenger seen on video sucker-punching flight attendant faces up to 20 years, feds say

Screenbrab from Twitter video by Barrie Livingston

A 33-year-old man seen on video sucker-punching an American Airlines attendant from behind on a California-bound flight could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted, officials say.

Alexander Tung Cuu Le, of Westminster, faces a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Central California said in a news release.

The incident took place Wednesday, Sept. 21, on American Airlines Flight 377 from San José del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles International Airport, McClatchy News reported.

A video posted to Twitter by a friend of another passenger shows the attendant confronting Le, who wears a Hawaiian shirt, in the aisle.

The attendant turns his back and walks away, and the man dashes toward him and punches him the back of his head as other travelers gasp in shock at the attack, the video shows.

“Oh my God,” shouts a passenger. “What are you doing?”

Four other passengers restrained Le, zip-tying his arms and legs, McClatchy News reported.

Le repeatedly unbuckled his seatbelt, causing attendants to further restrain him with seat belt extenders, the release said. He was arrested on landing in Los Angeles.

Passenger sucker-punches attendant from behind on flight to California, video shows

Before the attack, Le had grabbed an attendant by the shoulder 20 minutes after takeoff to demand coffee, prosecutors said. He then grabbed the attendant by both shoulders.

When the attendant backed away, Le moved to the first-class cabin and sat in the aisle. Another attendant asked him to return to his seat, and Le swung his fist at him, the release said.

The video picks up as the attendant turned to report the incident to the pilot, with Le sucker-punching him in the back of the head, prosecutors said.

Le ran to the back of the airplane, where other passengers removed him from an exit row and helped restrain him, the release said.

An investigation of the incident by the FBI continues, prosecutors said.

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