In what investigators say is another episode of a drunk and unruly airline passenger, an American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles landed last night in Denver after a man became unhinged and hit a flight attendant. This time, the government is filing serious charges.
Federal prosecutors offer the following account of what happened:
They say the passenger, Varoujan Khodjamirian, had several drinks and became loud and disruptive about 90 minutes into Flight 21, a Boeing 767-200 with about 160 passengers onboard. When those sitting near him complained, they were re-seated, but he started kicking the seats in front of him, authorities said.
When flight attendants were unable to quiet him down, they moved him to the last row of seats, but he continued to be loud and hit one of them in the face, according to the feds.
He also yelled, "I kill your children. I kill your mother. I will beat you all down and kill you," along with several obscenities, authorities said. Flight attendants handcuffed him with plastic restraints, and two of them actually sat on him until the plane landed in Denver, where Khodjamirian was arrested.
He's been charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants, a crime which provides a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
A federal official says Khodjamirian is a resident alien who lives in Long Island. He has requested a Russian interpreter.