Aviation worker, 29, who threatened to crash stolen plane into Walmart, dies in prison

The Mississippi man who allegedly threatened to make a kamikaze-style attack on a local Walmart after stealing a plane  has died in prison, authorities have announced.

Officials discovered Cory Patterson, 29, unresponsive in a Florida federal prison cell on Monday.

His passing occurred only a few days after he was transferred from a state prison to the federal facility under pretrial detention.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons released a statement about what occurred:

“On Monday, November 14, 2022, at approximately 1:20 p.m., inmate Cory Patterson was found unresponsive at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) Miami in Miami, Florida. Responding staff immediately initiated life-saving measures. Staff requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Patterson was subsequently pronounced deceased by EMS personnel…No staff or other inmates were injured and at no time was the public in danger.”

As of this writing, authorities have not provided a cause of death.

In the September 3 incident, Patterson circled northern Mississippi for approximately five hours in a Beechcraft King Air C90 plane, reportedly terrorizing residents in the process.

Patterson, who evidently had no formal pilot training, reportedly worked for Tupelo Aviation at Tupelo, Miss., Regional Airport where he refueled planes as part of his job.

This role apparently gave him access to the aircraft in which he took flight at about 5 a.m. Around that time, Patterson reportedly called 911 to tell dispatchers that he intended to fly the plane into the Walmart store.

According to the New York Post, “An FBI agent said he found a handwritten note in the plane apparently from Patterson, according to court records. He said he was sick of living and had no intention of hurting anyone. I picked Walmart because it would be quick and easy to evacuate,’ Patterson wrote, adding that the chain was owned by billionaires who pay their workers low wages.”

He also allegedly posted what some have interpreted as a suicide note (since deleted) to Facebook.

Police negotiators eventually convinced Patterson to land the plane in a field near Ripley, Miss., about 40 miles northwest of Tupelo, where he was taken into custody. The impromptu landing caused only minor damage to the aircraft. Patterson was uninjured.

A private pilot had reportedly coached Patterson in what turned out be an abortive attempt to land at the Tupelo airport before coaching him how to bring the plane down in a soybean field.

The rogue pilot initially faced charges of grand larceny and making terrorist threats. The feds subsequently charged him with destruction of aircraft and threats involving  the destruction of aircraft. If convicted in a court of law, he could have faced up to 20 years behind bars on the first federal charge.

Watch a report aired by ABC Tupelo affiliate WTVA News:


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