Monday, November 28, 2011
NYPD Hero cop: Passengers' fear made me take jet boozehound down
A vacationing Bronx cop who tackled and arrested a boozed-up, raging passenger on a flight from the Carribbean said he sprang to action when he saw “the fear in passengers’ eyes.”
Hero officer Anibal Mercado, an 18-year NYPD veteran, said he was was returning to New York on Jet Blue Flt. 832 after a Thanksgiving getaway to the Dominican Republic when a man four rows back launched into a violent, verbal attack on two female flight attendants.
The suspect, identified as Antonio Ynoa, 22, allegedly went wild after the attendants told him to stop drinking and refused to bring him soda to mix with the Duty Free rum he’d brought on board in a carry-on.
Ynoa — who was traveling alone and in a window seat next to two young moms holding babies — went ballistic, cursing and shouting at the top of his lungs, said Mercado, 39, yesterday.
He then punched a male flight attendant four times in the face, said the cop.
“The babies were crying, I could see the fear in the passengers’ faces,” said Mercado, who works out of the 44th Precinct.
“If I didn’t step in, I didn’t even want to imagine what could have happened. Everyone was very alarmed.”
The 5’11” Mercado, who was unarmed, jumped up and confronted the shorter Ynoa, identifying himself as a cop.
He easily wrestled Ynoa to the ground before asking the flight attendants for plastic handcuffs that they keep on board.
“He struck me a few times in the face,” said Mercado. “I kept telling him to calm down; he wanted to know why he was getting arrested.”
Ynoa’s outburst happened about an hour before the plane’s scheduled 12:15 a.m. landing at John F. Kennedy Airport, authorities said.
After Mercado bound his arms with the pair of flex-cuffs, Ynoa allegedly continued ranting and hurling profanities.
He also allegedly sprayed spit at Mercado several times — prompting the flight attendants to grab a paper mask from the first aid kit and use it to cover Ynoa’s mouth.
The foul-mouthed flyer was still howling when Port Authority police met the landed flight.
Mercado said Ynoa punched two of the PA cops and kicked at them as he was hauled into custody.
“He just kept resisting and resisting, he wouldn’t stop,” Mercado said.
Ynoa, who had two sealed arrests on his record, was charged with assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Mercado — who had used his air miles to fly to the Dominican for a long holiday weekend with friends — was back at work for his shift today after spending several hours at JFK helping authorities.
He said the incident didn’t ruin his vacation and noted that the Jet Blue pilot personally thanked him.
Mercado said he’s not a hero.
“It was normal routine — except that I was up 30,000 feet,” said the cop.