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November 28, 2011

Federal air marshals arrest man on plane en route to BWI

Don't sit too close the federal air marshals.

A 34-year-old man from South Carolina was charged Monday with assaulting a federal air marshal during what prosecutors describe as a fight on board an airplane making its descent into Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner ordered the suspect, William D. Barna, from James Island, to undergo five to seven days of alcohol rehabilitation then spend 28 days in an inpatient program. Once released, the said he cannot fly on a commercial airline until this case is resolved.
The incident occurred Sunday night aboard Delta Airlines Flight 1624 from Atlanta to Baltimore.

Prosecutors said that 15 minutes from landing, Barna, seated in seat 3A, yelled at a passenger sitting next to him, in 3B.

The criminal complaint says Barna struck the passenger, identified in court documents as Krystopher R. Holloway. But Federal Air Marshal Colby W. Swift, was sitting behind the suspect, in Seat 4C, and his partner, was directly in front of him, in 3C.

The complaint in U.S. District Court in Baltimore says Swift and his partner broke up the altercation and seated Barna away from the other passenger. The court documents say that Barna appeared to fall asleep, but that he suddenly “woke up, threatened Federal Air Mashal Swift with a raised, clenched fist and then attempted to strike him with a clenched left fist.”

Colby and his unidentified partner then tried to subdue Barna and prosecutors said in court documents the three rolled around the aisle and that Swift was “forced to employ a leverage technique in order to gain … control of the subject’s right arm.”

Prosecutors said the air marshals subdued him until landing and that once on the group, police with the Maryland Transportation Authority put a “split face shield and leg restraints” on the suspect. The court documents do not describe what the initial altercation was about; Holloway could not be reached for comment.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 7:01 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Anne Arundel County


What in the world are you thinking? Why would you print an air marshal's full name and seat assignment? Is the quest for your own misguided litreary glory more important than the safety of others. You appear to be an idiot.

Mr. Watkins, thank you for your thoughtful post. The air marshals don't sit in the same seat each time, so reporting on which ones they sat on this particular flight doesn't matter. By the time the incident was over and the marshals were subduing the suspect in the aisle, I would guess every passenger aboard the plane knew who they were. My aim at providing the information is not to seek literary glory, but rather inform the public. The name of the agents are public information and were taken from a public document filed in court and available to each and every citizen.

Why did the Air Marshals RE-seat the guy without restraints in the first place. He already assaulted a passenger and then they let him sit somewhere else without handcuffs or plastic handcuffs? That was lame. Violent person acted out and then the air marshal allows him to sit next him? What if he wanted to make a move for the air marshals weapon? Dumb move by the air marshals. Should've known better, could've turned out worse. Poor procedure.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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