But Seemed Glad To Be Alive When Police Arrived
It appears increasingly likely the pilot of a small plane who
led US authorities on a slow-speed chase over five states Monday
did not intend to use his plane to attack anyone... but rather he
was hoping US fighters would shoot him down.
Several media outlets, including The Associated Press and CNN,
report Adam Dylan Leon told officials he expected to be shot down
by the F-16Cs that trailed his aircraft for much of his seven-hour
flight over Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and
As ANN reported, the Turkish-born 31-year-old
-- also known as Yavuz Burke -- allegedly stole a C172 off the
flight line at Confederation College Flight School at Ontario's
Thunder Bay International Airport Monday afternoon. He entered the
US over Michigan's Upper Penisula, and continued flying generally
south without any communication to air traffic control
NORAD scrambled Air National Guard F-16s to trail the plane,
but took no hostile action against him as it became evident the
pilot wasn't attempting to target any buildings.
CNN reports Leon was charged Tuesday with transportation of
stolen property and illegal entry into the United States. According
to a federal complaint against him, Leon told the Federal Bureau of
Investigations he "has not felt like himself lately."
Officials apprehended Leon after he set the plane down on a
Missouri highway, then fled on foot to a nearby store... where he
calmly waited for police to arrive.
Arresting officer Justin Watson, a Missouri State Highway Patrol
Trooper, told the AP Leon was cooperative when officers approached
"His statement was: He was expecting us and he was the person we
were looking for. I expected him to deny any involvement," Watson
said. "Basically, his statement was he wanted to end it all... He
was actually in a little better spirits than I thought he would be
for a person who was suicidal."
Leon is now in a St. Louis jail cell, before appearing at a
federal detention hearing scheduled for Friday. He could face as
many as 10 years in prison for his trangressions... though FBI
officials say it doesn't appear Leon has any connections to known
terrorist organizations, and that his actions were almost assuredly
not intended to harm anyone but himself.
Personnel at Confederation College state Leon had access to the
school's training aircraft, as he was a student in the flight
school there. In fact, last week he successfully completed his solo
cross-country flight, school officials said.