An armed man who tried to hijack a helicopter at an Oregon airport on Monday was shot and killed by police just before noon. One shot was fired by the gunman but nobody on the tarmac or in the surrounding area was hurt.
The bizarre incident took place at around 11:40 am, when the would-be hijacker jumped a fence and confronted a flight instructor and student as they sat inside the helicopter, Hillsboro police officials said.
Hillsboro Aero Academy employees brandished their own weapons and managed to hold the gunman at bay just long enough for the instructor and student to escape unharmed. However, the suspect also managed to briefly elude capture by jumping back over the fence.
Just minutes later, police followed the suspect to an open field and shot him dead after a short standoff.
Christopher Neal, who works for the same organization that owns and operates the airport, was on the premises with his family because his young son enjoys watching planes take off and land, Oregon Live reported. He spotted the gunman before the hijacking attempt took place and found his choice of outfit odd.
“For a moment, I thought to myself that it was a little warm for the big, thick, gray hoodie with the hood over him,” Neal said. Once he saw the gunman sprint toward the fence while pulling a mask on his face, he realized it was time to evacuate his family.
Police have not publicly identified the hijacker or the officer, who was placed on administrative leave as is standard procedure in such cases. Flights were briefly halted but the airport was fully operational by 1:00 pm.