A renegade pilot who threatened to crash his plane into a Walmart in Tupelo, Miss., has been charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats.

Cory Wayne Patterson will also likely face federal charges, Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said in a news conference Saturday.

“Negotiators from the Tupelo Police Department made contact with the pilot and were able to convince him to not carry out this deed and to land the airplane at Tupelo airport,” Quaka said. “He was getting close to running out of fuel.”

Plane in sky
The pilot circled over Tupelo, Mississippi on Sept. 3 and had threatened to crash his plane.
Brandon Hankins via Storyful

The plan to land at the airport, however, was aborted because Patterson lacked sufficient experience to bring the aircraft down. He eventually landed in a field near Ripley, Miss. Patterson was uninjured.

Quaka said Patterson’s motivation remains unclear and that Tupelo police would work with the FBI to figure it out. Though he had received flight instruction, Quaka said he believed Patterson was not a licensed flight pilot.

Cory Patterson
Cory Patterson will be charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats.
Patterson's full and complete flight path.
Patterson’s full and complete flight path.

“It is an ongoing investigation. We will learn more later in the day,” Quaka said.


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