Here’s what we know about the Mississippi airport employee accused of stealing a plane and threatening to crash into a Walmart

Corey Wayne Patterson – who is not a licensed pilot – faces charges of grand theft and making terroristic threats, according to Tupelo Police Chief John Kwaka. Patterson has pleaded not guilty.

His alleged actions over the weekend caused chaos in the northern Mississippi city, with officials evacuating surrounding areas and closing major streets of Tupelo. One woman also told CNN that she hid in her father-in-law’s basement.

Kwaka said at 5:08 a.m. local time on Saturday, Patterson stole a Beechcraft King Air C90 twin-engine plane and took off from Tupelo Regional Airport.

Kwaka said that at around 5:23 a.m., Patterson called Lee County 911 by plane and said he was going to crash the plane at a West Maine Walmart in Tupelo. Soon after, the shop and surrounding areas were evacuated. According to the chief, several major roads in Tupelo were also closed.

The Tupelo Walmart store was “closed and emptied,” Walmart press office director Charles Crosson previously told CNN while the plane was airborne.

Kwaka said Tupelo police negotiators contacted Patterson and persuaded him to land the plane at Tupelo airport. A private pilot assisted police in helping Patterson, but on final approach he aborted the landing and traveled northwest, Kwaka said. Kwaka said several counties had been informed of what was happening.

More than four hours later, Patterson made a Facebook post. “In short, it said goodbye. At this point, we knew he was getting close to running out of fuel,” Kwaka said.

After the police lost and then re-established radar contact with the plane, Patterson confirmed that he had landed in an area, according to the major.

Pilot arrested after threatening to crash plane at Mississippi Walmart and eventually landing in a field, police say

Shortly thereafter, Patterson was taken into custody. He was booked Saturday afternoon at the Lee County Detention Center, prison records show.

Attorney Anthony L. Fares told CNN he was representing Patterson.

“Mr. Patterson is a fine young man with no criminal history. We have started our investigation into the matter and we believe Mr. Patterson is suffering from some serious psychological distress that led to these incidents. We defend him.” We look forward to doing this matter more appropriately,” Fares said in an emailed statement.

At the hearing, a public defender temporarily represented Patterson and, according to Fares, entered a not guilty plea.

Patterson is not a licensed pilot

It is not believed that Patterson is a licensed pilot, according to Kwaka, but officials do know that he has some flight instructions.

Patterson, of Shannon, Mississippi, has been an employee with Tupelo Aviation for the past 10 years, the chief said. As a linesman, Kwaka said, Patterson is responsible for refueling the aircraft. The chief said the plane was fully refueled the night before.

Federal officials are investigating

Kwaka said he expected the federal government to move forward with federal charges against Patterson.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating the incident. A spokesman said the FBI field office in Jackson, Mississippi, was also involved in the response to the incident.

CNN’s Pete Muntian, Theresa Waldrop, Raja Rezek and Sharif Paget contributed to this report.

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