A 34-year-old man from South Carolina was charged Monday with assaulting a federal air marshal during what prosecutors describe as a fight on board an airplane making its descent into Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner ordered the suspect, William D. Barna, from James Island, to undergo five to seven days of alcohol rehabilitation then spend 28 days in an inpatient program. Once released, she said he cannot fly on a commercial airline until this case is resolved.
The incident occurred Sunday night aboard Delta Airlines Flight 1624 from Atlanta to Baltimore. Prosecutors said that 15 minutes from landing, Barna, seated in seat 3A, yelled at a passenger sitting next to him, in 3B.
The criminal complaint says Barna struck the passenger, identified in court documents as Krystopher R. Holloway. Federal Air Marshal Colby W. Swift was sitting behind the suspect, in Seat 4C, and his partner was in 3C.
The complaint in U.S. District Court in Baltimore says Swift and his partner broke up the altercation and seated Barna away from the other passenger. The court documents say that Barna appeared to fall asleep, but that he suddenly "woke up, threatened Federal Air Mashal Swift with a raised, clenched fist and then attempted to strike him with a clenched left fist."
Swift and his unidentified partner then tried to subdue Barna and prosecutors said in court documents the three rolled around the aisle and that Swift was "forced to employ a leverage technique in order to gain … control of the subject's right arm."
Prosecutors said the air marshals subdued him until landing and that once on the ground, police with the Maryland Transportation Authority put a "split face shield and leg restraints" on the suspect. The court documents do not describe what the initial altercation was about; Holloway could not be reached for comment.