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News Iraq Veteran Rushes Cockpit Door

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I thought this was rather odd actually, though nothing more has been sourced in regard to this matter at this stage, for obvious legal reasons I wold presume.
An Iraq combat veteran from the Bronx, who authorities said rushed the cockpit of a passenger jet last week, appeared before a U.S. Magistrate yesterday in a Tampa, Fla., courtroom.

Federal prosecutors in Tampa charged Neftali Lai, 24, with intimidating a flight-crew member July 6 on Delta Air Lines Flight 1850 from LaGuardia Airport to Tampa.

Witnesses on the plane told Newsday yesterday that Lai ran shoulder-first into the locked cockpit door as the plane neared its destination, and tried to pry it open. A handful of passengers wrestled him to the floor.

"I was working a crossword puzzle, and I looked up and he ran into the door full steam," said Gordon Montoya, a technology consultant who lives in Florida. "I got up and wrestled with him, and we held him down for 10 minutes until the plane landed."

Herb Freitag, 64, a church pastor from Clearwater, Fla., also helped subdue Lai. "He didn't say anything the whole time," he said. "His brother came up and was telling him, 'You've got to calm down, calm down,' and 'what you did was really stupid.'"

Lai, a U.S. Army specialist, was deployed to Iraq in September 2005 with the 4th Battalion based in Fort Riley, Kan. He returned in January. His final day with the Army was scheduled for July 12. His record indicates that he had no disciplinary problems during his tenure and that he was not wounded in Iraq.

Lai's brother, Robert Cordero-Mendez, told reporters last week that his brother was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

Steven Lang, Lai's defense attorney, did not return phone calls yesterday. Elizabeth Jenkins, a U.S. Magistrate Court judge, released Lai on $25,000 bond.

Source: Newsday.com
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