ORLANDO, Florida — A former Marine who was armed with a fake gun attempted a “suicide by cop” Tuesday night during a nearly three-hour standoff with police at the Orlando International Airport, authorities said.
No one was hurt and no shots were ever fired, but the standoff caused confusion and anxiety among travelers who were uncertain about what was going on. Part of the airport was evacuated as hundreds of officers stormed the area, some with their guns drawn.
Michael Wayne Pettigrew, 26, was in “mental distress” when police surrounded him at the rental car area of the airport, authorities said. He pointed what looked like a real gun at officers and himself, authorities said.
“Our negotiators did a phenomenal job of talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
He was being held for a mental evaluation and faces aggravated assault charges.
UPDATE: Gunman is in custody. Everyone is safe. Will brief as soon as possible in the media staging area. pic.twitter.com/8sNZ3Vjmv7
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 31, 2017
Glorializ Colón Plaza, 20, told the Orlando Sentinel she was just getting off work from Virgin Atlantic airlines when she saw everyone hiding.