Yesterday, SF Weekly told readers about the bizarre -- or nightmarish, if you were a passenger on the plane -- incident where a Yemeni passenger on a SFO-bound flight tried to break into the cockpit.
At about 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Rageit Almurisi, 28, allegedly got up from his seat and was yelling unintelligibly as he stormed to the cockpit and tried to bang the door down. Thankfully, he was wrestled to the ground by law enforcers who just
happened to be passengers on American Airlines Flight 1561, which
had departed from Chicago O'Hare.
While Almurisi sat in jail on Monday, some of his relatives came to his defense, saying he was a nice guy who spoke little English. He was not religious and didn't drink alcohol.
His cousin, Rageh Almoraissi, told The Bay Citizen that Almurisi had moved from a village in Yemen to Vallejo more than a year ago. However, he had recently been living with his brother, who was a cab driver in New York City. His brother was returning to Yemen, which is why Almurisi was flying home to Vallejo. "He's not a terrorist," the slightly older Almoraissi said. "He's a nice guy."
was walking," passenger Angelina Marty told the Chronicle. "You knew he was going to do something. It was
by far the scariest thing I've ever been through."
His family told reporters that passengers might have misinterpreted his behavior and overreacted simply because of his Middle Eastern appearance.
"I know he wasn't trying to harm anyone," his cousin says. "He's not that type of person."