New Details Emerge on Man Who Stole Plane, Threatened to Crash It Into Mississippi Walmart

by Alex Falls

Over the weekend, news of a rouge pilot threatening to crash his plane into a Mississippi Walmart made waves across the country. Now, new details have started to emerge surrounding the incident.

The man behind the controls was Cory Wayne Patter, 29. He’s being charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats. Patterson did not have a pilot’s license or any experience with landing an aircraft. He stole the plane from Tulepo Reginal Airport on Saturday.

Tupelo Police chief John Quaka said during a press conference that Patterson worked at the airport where he helped refuel the planes. He had received some flight instructions, however, he does not have a pilot’s license.

Patterson’s position at the airport allowed him access to the aircraft. He stole a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A. He proceeded to fly the plane for an erratic five hours over the skies of Mississippi. During the flight, he threatened to crash land in a Mississippi Walmart. The store was evacuated after 5:20 am when Patterson called 911 to report his threat.

After several tense hours in the air, Patterson managed to safely crash land the plane in a soybean field. He was arrested shortly thereafter. Patterson avoided injury during the rough landing. He posted a message to Facebook shortly before the landing saying, “Sorry everyone. Never wanted to actually hurt anyone. I love my parents and sister this isn’t your fault. Goodbye.”

Police negotiators made contact with Patterson during his flight and convinced him to land the plane. However, he had no training to do so. A private pilot then attempted to coach him to land the plane back at Tulepo Airport. But Patterson aborted at the last minute and continued the flight.

The Plane Landed Without Incident

Eventually, another negotiator made contact with Patterson around 10 am as he brought the plane down in the field. Tupelo Mayor Todd Jordan called it “the best case scenario” to end the situation. No one was injured during the incident.

The plane came down near Ripley, Mississippi about 45 miles northwest of Tulepo where the situation began. The air traffic tower at Tulepo Airport was unmanned at the time Patterson stole the plane. Police described it as a “crime of opportunity” as Patterson had easy access to the airport and the aircraft.

Ripley resident Roxanne Ward lived at the property where the plane landed. The farm was owned by her father-in-law. She had been tracking the plane online as the story unfolded. Patterson went to the house with plans to go into the basement for safety. When she heard the thud of the plane landing, she observed Patterson’s immediate arrest.

“As soon as it crashed, police were there and waiting,” Ward said. “Police coaxed him out. They yelled at him, ‘Arms in the air.”‘ She added Patterson got out of the plane without resisting police.

Governor Tate Reeves then tweeted that the situation had been resolved. “The plane over North MS is down. Thankful the situation has been resolved and that no one was injured. Thank you most of all to local, state, and federal law enforcement who managed this situation with extreme professionalism. We’re working closely with local investigators and are referring questions to law enforcement.”