Mentally ill man who attacked TSA agents dies

A mentally ill man named Richard White attacked TSA agents at the New Orleans airport with wasp spray and a machete and was, in turn, shot by a sheriff’s lieutenant on duty nearby. 

White later died of his injuries.

It turns out that White, 63, was also carrying Molotov cocktails in his bag; and his car, later searched by police, contained three gas tanks, one each of oxygen, Freon, and acetylene.

TSA agent Carol Richel, in the line of attack from White, was also slightly wounded by one of the lieutenant’s bullets:

“I was calling, ‘Run, run’ for them to get away from him, and I was calling for the (lieutenant) so she was there and alert,” Richel said.

“I didn’t hear him say anything,” she said. “Once I yelled for the checkpoint to be cleared, I looked over my shoulder and he was coming after me. And I ran as fast as I could and thank God the officer was as close as she was, because I wouldn’t be here today.”

She said the man came “within inches” of whacking her with the machete.

Jefferson County Sheriff Newell Normand addressed the issue of mental illness, indicating that:

. . . investigators hadn’t been able to talk to White, who officials said suffered from some type of mental illness. He said White’s wife and children had been very cooperative.

“No one at this point in time has any notion about what may have triggered this behavior,” Normand said. “And not unlike dealing with the mentally ill, sometimes you will never know what actually triggers some of this type of behavior.”