Pilot Threatens to Drop Aircraft into Tupelo, Mississippi, Walmart

The pilot of a small plane circled erratically in Tupelo, Mississippi, for hours on Saturday morning, threatening to crash into a Walmart store—before veering out of the area, as authorities feared.

The bizarre incident started at around 5am and details are scant, but police say the pilot had called 911 and was in contact with them.

Authorities evacuated buildings on West Main Street in Tupelo as the twin-engine turboprop made lap after lap in the skies above, but police warned that the situation could deteriorate quickly.

“Residents are asked to avoid the area until everything is clear. With the mobility of this type of aircraft, the danger zone is much greater than that of the Tupelo,” the police department said in a statement.

At around 9 a.m., the plane left Tupelo airspace and traveled northwest towards Pine Grove, where it was again seen making circles.

Data from FlightAware suggests the plane in question is a Beechcraft King Air 90 turboprop belonging to a local urologist—despite reports that it was stolen from Tupelo airport. Tupelo Daily Journal reported that the pilot is believed to be an airport employee, although the suspect’s complaint is unclear.

“State law enforcement and emergency managers are tracking this dangerous situation,” Governor Tate Reeves said in a statement. “All citizens should be alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department.”

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