Pilot charged after making threats to crash into MS Walmart, officials say

TUPELO, Miss. — Authorities are investigating a call to 911 dispatch after a man threatened to crash a plane.

Tupelo Police Department (TPD) was notified at about 5 a.m. Saturday that a pilot, Cory Wayne Patterson, stole an airplane (possibly King Air type) from the Tupelo Airport.

According to police, the Patterson made contact with E911 and threatened to crash into Walmart on West Main intentionally and the Walmart plus surrounding areas were evacuated.

Negotiators made contact and convinced him to land but he did not know how. Another pilot guided him to land at the Tupelo Airport but he didn’t land, police said.

Police said just after 8:30 a.m., the plane was reported to be airborne north of Tupelo in the Benton, Tippah and Union counties.

Just after 10 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lost radar contact but it was later picked back up by other authorities after the pilot landed, police said.

Patterson landed near the Gravestown Fire Department between Ashland and Ripley, Miss.

According to TPD, Patterson will be charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats.

Police believe federal authorities will press additional charges.

According to police during a press conference, Patterson has some flight instructions and has been an employee of Tupelo Aviation for 10 years. He fuels the aircraft.

The FAA released the following statement:

A Beechcraft King Air 90 landed in a field several miles northwest of Ripley Airport in Ripley, Miss. The pilot departed from Tupelo Regional Airport in Tupelo, Miss., earlier this morning and circled the area. Only the pilot was on board.

The FAA is coordinating with local law enforcement. The FAA will investigate.

The tail number of the aircraft is N342ER. You can look up the aircraft by its registration on this webpage.