A New Hampshire police agency hailed a passenger who assisted in stopping a guy from stabbing a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon on Friday.
The “Citizen Award” was given to Jeff Neil, a former bouncer who now works for a software company, for his acts earlier this month that was documented on film by another passenger.
Neil admitted he doesn’t think of himself as a hero but recognized the importance of what occurred during an Exeter ceremony.
He said, “I was in the right place at the right moment.”
Neil was seated next to his wife, Libby, aboard the aircraft. She remarked that she wasn’t shocked by his quick move.
We both anticipated that he would stand up, she replied.
In Leominster, Massachusetts, Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was detained on suspicion of assaulting a flight attendant and trying to unlock the door of United Airlines Flight 2609.
The crew discovered the door handle had been pulled out of its fully locked position when the jet was about 45 minutes from Boston.
According to the investigators, Torres acknowledged knowing many people would perish if he opened the door. He is awaiting a mental health assessment.
In the footage, Torres is heard yelling that he will kill everyone and that there will be a “bloodbath” before declaring that he is “taking over this plane” and moving into the aisle.
Sitting in the back row, Neil quickly got up to try to calm Torres down and diffuse the situation.
According to the prosecution, Torres approached two flight attendants before assaulting one of them. Torres was tackled by Neil and a few other passengers who went to the flight attendant’s help, holding him down until they arrived in Boston.
Neil “exemplified what it meant to be both a hero and a leader,” according to Exeter Police Chief Stephan Poulin.