Richard White, 63, the suspect believed to have carried out a machete attack Friday night in New Orleans, is dead, AP reported late Saturday.
White was shot three times at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport during his horrific attack and was pronounced dead at 5:02 pm Saturday.
Authorities say the suspect in the brazen machete attack may have been planning to bomb the site as well.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Richard White, 63, carried a bag with six gasoline-filled Molotov cocktails and a barbecue lighter when he assaulted Transportation Security Administration workers at Louis Armstrong International Airport.
Authorities also found an acetylene tank, smoke bombs and other supplies in his car, Normand said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.
Police were investigating “a mental illness component” in the attack, Normand said.
Also speaking at the news conference, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the incident “an unexpected attack by a clearly troubled and disturbed individual.”
Police “acted quickly, they acted heroically” and saved lives, he added.
Bystanders caught in the chaos said police quickly fired shots to subdue the alleged attacker, sending passengers fleeing and ducking for cover.
“Mostly everybody was getting down to the ground and trying to hide under chairs,” Nicole Danjean told The Times-Picayune. Danjean, who had been traveling from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., said she was at her gate when she heard three or four gunshots, then heard someone yell, “Everybody get down!”
Police said White approached an airport security checkpoint Friday evening, produced a can of wasp killer and began spraying agents and passengers who were standing in line.
Then he drew a large machete from the waistband of his pants and began swinging. A male TSA agent blocked the machete with a piece of luggage as White ran through a metal detector, then chased agent Caroll Richel.
That’s when Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Heather Slyve drew her weapon, Normand said. White continued to swing the machete as Slyve approached, and she fired three rounds, striking White in the face, chest and leg. Richel, who was hit in the arm by one of the rounds, credited Slyve with saving her life. “Officer Slyve is my hero,” she said. Richel’s wound wasn’t life-threatening.
Investigators were trying to determine what White was doing at the airport. He lives about 2 miles from the airport in nearby Kenner, La., and Normand said it didn’t appear as if he was trying to get on a plane.
A neighbor, Donna Jackson, told the Times-Picayune that White was a former Army serviceman, long since retired and living off Social Security and disability checks. He was a deeply religious man, she said, a Jehovah’s Witness who shunned Western medicine and encouraged Jackson to use herbal remedies, even to treat her diabetes.
SOURCE: Greg Toppo