Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Hopewell man charged with disrupting flight
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 4, 2014, 09:23

HOPEWELL — A Hopewell man is now facing federal charges after being escorted off a United Airlines flight in South Dakota. 

Kennedy Runner, 68, is being temporarily detained in the custody of the United States Marshals Service until his preliminary hearing on April 9. Runner is being charged in the United States District Court of South Dakota with one count of interference with flight crew and attendants of a United Airlines Flight.

According to the affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota on March 28, the altercations with Runner began before he boarded the flight. At the gate, Runner did not have government-issued identification, which was needed to board the plane. Once Runner’s identity was verified, he was escorted onto the flight. 

While Runner was being taken onto the flight, he turned to one of the officers and said, “you’re going to be dead.” After the comment was made, Runner’s property was searched and he had to have a pat-down. Once that was completed, Runner was allowed on the plane. 

As the plane was getting ready to head down the runway and begin flight preparations, Runner created “a threatening situation in the airplane that caused the pilot to return to the jetway. Due to Runner’s actions on the airplane, the pilot determined that he would not allow Runner to fly on the aircraft due to the threatening behavior.” 

During interviews with flight attendants and the pilot, both stated Runner had been threatening other passengers on the airplane, he was talking nonstop and other passengers informed the flight attendant that Runner had threatened to kill them. 

When the plane returned back to the terminal, two officers from the Rapid City Fire Department entered the plane to aid in the situation involving Runner. A Federal Bureau of Investigation officer entered the plane shortly thereafter and heard Runner threatening to kill the other officers. When the FBI agent approached Runner, he threatened to kill him as well and then stated, “Everyone is going to die.” 

During the escort to the airport security office, Runner continued making threats and stated that when and if he got to Washington, D.C., “somebody was going to die.” Runner continued making threatening comments and continued yelling and was then arrested for threatening a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct. 

Runner appeared in court on April 1 for an arraignment. At the hearing, Runner requested a preliminary hearing. The hearing is scheduled for April 9. 

Runner has also had problems with the law before. He has faced charges in Chesterfield and Henrico counties. In Chesterfield County in 2007, he was charged with disorderly conduct. According to the court records, Runner’s payment as of March 2007 is past due and his address listed on the court records reports he was homeless. He was also charged with petit larceny and just as with the first charge, his payment is still past due. 

In November 2006, Runner had two charges in Henrico County; one charge of resisting arrest and another charge of violating a capias warrant, which is a civil warrant that is issued for unpaid  judgement or failure to appear. According to the court records, both are also marked as past due for payment. 

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