70-Year-Old Man Says Joke at Ticket Counter Sparked Partial Evacuation of LaGuardia Airport

In an exclusive interview with NBC 4, the suspect said it was just a joke

A 70-year-old man prompted a partial evacuation of LaGuardia Airport after he made a bomb threat during a dispute at a ticket counter, authorities said. 

The man said he had a bomb after becoming angry about a baggage fee at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter inside Terminal B, an airport worker told police. 

The suspect, In John Park, of Farmington, Michigan, was taken into custody, Port Authority police said.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York after his arraignment, Park said it was all a misunderstanding. 

"They just overreacted," Park said. "I'm an Asian, have different culture — making jokes here and there. But they overreacted. That's all."  

Meanwhile, a bomb squad swept the area and inspected Park's bag. No threat was found, the Port Authority said. 

The screening checkpoints and pre-security areas for concourses A and B were evacuated during the ordeal, according to Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo. 

"We couldn't get into the airport because of this bomb scare," traveler Marilyn Schechter, of Rye Brook, said.

Schechter said a shuttle had to drop her and her husband off in the middle of a roadway, and the two of them had to walk about a quarter-of-a-mile. 

Concourses C and D were operating normally throughout the morning.

Terminal B resumed normal operations by 9:25 a.m., about two hours after the initial reported threat, the Port Authority said.

Spirit Airlines directed all questions to law enforcement. 

During his arraignment at the Queens Courthouse in Kew Gardens Saturday evening, Park was charged with making a terroristic threat. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Nov. 28.

NBC 4 is seeking a response from Park's attorney. 

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