O.C. man charged after allegedly punching attendant on flight from Mexico to LAX

An Orange County man has been arrested and charged by federal authorities after video showed him allegedly punching a flight attendant in the back of the head during a flight from Mexico to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33, of Westminster, was charged with disrupting flight crew members and flight attendants, the US Attorney for the Central District of California said in a news release Thursday.

Le was flying from San Jose del Cabo to LAX on Wednesday when he got up from his seat while flight attendants were serving food and drinks on American Airlines Flight 377, prosecutors said. Le grabbed a flight attendant by the shoulder from behind and asked for coffee, then grabbed the flight attendant by both shoulders, prosecutors said. The flight attendant backed off and assumed a defensive stance, and Le then walked to the front of the plane, according to court documents.

He hung around near the first-class cabin, sitting in an empty aisle near the wall separating the two sides of the plane. Another flight attendant asked Le to return to his seat, but he refused and reportedly took up a fighting stance and clenched both his hands into a fist. The flight attendant took this as a threat, prosecutors said.

Le swung his arm at the flight attendant and missed, at which point the flight attendant turned to report the pilot Le’s actions, prosecutors said. While their backs were turned, Le ran towards the flight attendant and hit him on the back of the head, authorities said. Several passengers witnessed the attack and one person recorded the incident.

Le ran to the rear of the plane after the incident and was cornered by several passengers near an exit row. Then, for security reasons, he was moved to another row and his hands and legs were handcuffed. Flight attendants continued to restrain him with seat belt extenders because prosecutors said he continued to unbuckle his seat belt.

The flight was intercepted by law enforcement as it arrived at LAX, American Airlines said in a statement.

“American Airlines will not tolerate acts of violence against our team members. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future, and we will be working closely with law enforcement in their investigation,” American Airlines said. “We thank our crew for their quick action and professionalism in ensuring the safety of their teammates and customers on board. Our thoughts are with our injured flight attendant and we are making sure she and her fellow crew members are given the support they need at this time.”

Le is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-22/passenger-punches-flight-attendant-los-angeles-mexico O.C. man charged after allegedly punching attendant on flight from Mexico to LAX

Alley Einstein

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