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Chief: New Orleans airport attacker had mental health issues – Chronicle Bulletin

KENNER, La. (AP) — A machete-wielding attacker who died more than the weekend just after getting shot by a sheriff’s deputy who stopped his rampage at New Orleans’ international airport had a history of mental overall health complications, authorities say.

Richard White, 63, had been shot Friday evening as he chased an unarmed Transportation Security Administration agent via a concourse full of frightened travelers — and in the direction of a sheriff’s deputy, who drew her gun and fired three times. White died Saturday afternoon.

Sheriff Newell Normand mentioned investigators found White had been carrying a bag loaded with Molotov cocktails but had dropped the bag. He said it contained six Mason jars with cloth wicks soaked in gasoline and that residue from smoke bombs also was discovered near White’s physique right after he was shot.

“Luckily, he didn’t seriously injure anyone,” stated Normand, speaking Saturday at a news conference at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. He is sheriff of Jefferson Parish, a suburban New Orleans district exactly where the airport is situated.

Normand mentioned the circumstance could have been a great deal worse.

“You know, often, the saying: You’d rather be fortunate than great. I think we had been each final evening to the nth degree,” he said. “I assume we did a lot of points suitable and constructive and brought on certain things to come about, but by the similar token — one second right here, one second there — it could have been a a lot various outcome.”

Investigators are trying to determine the nature and extent of White’s mental wellness issues and the man’s household has been cooperating with the investigation, the sheriff said. White was a Jehovah’s Witness and had refused “certain varieties of health-related care,” Normand mentioned.

Authorities also found smoke bombs and tanks of acetylene, Freon and oxygen in the trunk of his auto, Normand stated, but investigators didn’t know what, if anything, White intended to do with the components. Normand mentioned White is believed to be a former taxi driver, but added that investigators are nonetheless examining a selection of sources and databases to receive his employment and criminal history.

The attack opened Friday evening when White sprayed unarmed Transportation Security Administration agents and several passengers in line at the airport safety checkpoint with wasp killer, Normand mentioned. He added that the man then drew a big machete from the waistband of his pants and a male TSA agent blocked the machete with a piece of luggage as White ran by means of a metal detector.

White chased TSA agent Carroll Richel although swinging the machete. They have been heading toward Lt. Heather Slyve of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, who fired 3 occasions as White rapidly gained ground on Richel, Normand stated.

A single bullet apparently went via Richel’s appropriate upper arm and hit White. Her wound was not life-threatening and Richel showed her bandaged arm to reporters at Saturday’s news conference. She credited Slyve with saving her life.

“Officer Slyve is my hero,” Richel mentioned.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu stated a evaluation of safety procedures will adhere to, adding that such is common soon after any emergency. He joined Norman and TSA Acting Administrator Mel Carraway at Saturday’s airport news conference.

The airport is owned by the city of New Orleans but positioned in the suburban city of Kenner in Jefferson Parish. The officials praised the work of TSA officials who helped usher passengers away from the unfolding danger, as effectively as the law enforcement officials delivering safety and investigating the incident.

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