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Tupelo Miss. pilot who stole plane & threatened to crash into Walmart lands: 5 hours of terror

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Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot threatens to crash stolen plane into Walmart store. Pictured, student pilot hailing from Shannon, Miss. Images via social media.
Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot steals plane
Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot threatens to crash stolen plane into Walmart store. Pictured, student pilot hailing from Shannon, Miss. Images via social media.

Cory Patterson, Shannon, Mississippi student pilot steals plane threatening to crash land into Walmart before landing in field. Tupelo pilot flew circles for over 5 hours, even posting last goodbyes on Facebook. 

A student pilot who stole a plane from a regional airport and who threatened to crash into a Mississippi Walmart store has been taken into custody after crash landing in a field. 

Cory Wayne Patterson, 29, of Shannon took the 9 seat aircraft aircraft from Tupelo Airport at around 5am, where he proceeded to fly in circles across Mississippi over the course of five hours. At one point the man posted a chilling ‘goodbye’ message on social media while still in the air.

Patterson had threatened to intentionally crash the 9 seater Beechcraft King Air 90 plane into a Walmart outlet according to the Tupelo Police Department.

In what appeared to be a final message, Patterson posted on Facebook: ‘Sorry everyone. Never actually wanted to hurt anyone. I love my parents and sister this isn’t your fault. Goodbye.’

Initial reports told of Paterson working at the Tupelo Regional Airport, and regularly posting about flying planes across the country. 

Walmart store evacuated

The plane eventually crash landed after several hours in a field near Gravestown, with deputies with the Benton County Sheriff’s Department having taken Patterson into custody. 

The aircraft appeared to have little damage after stopping more than four hours after it took off according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

The Tupelo Police Department will hold a press conference around noon.

Authorities evacuated the Walmart located on West Main street, which was the location of the original threat, dispersing as many people as possible, while urging locals to stay out of the way.

Patterson circled around the Walmart store, with witnesses claiming it then flew to the Toyota plant in Blue Springs before being spotted in Ripley. 

In a statement TPD said: ‘At approximately 05:00 am TPD was notified that a pilot of an airplane was flying over Tupelo.

‘The pilot has made contact with E911 and is threatening to intentionally crash into Wal Mart on West Main.

Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot steals plane
Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot threatens to crash stolen plane into Walmart store. Pictured, student pilot hailing from Shannon, Miss. did not appear to harbor any political aspirations. Images via social media.
Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot steals plane
Cory Patterson Tupelo Mississippi pilot steals plane. Flight path and posted message on FB where he left goodbye.

No known motive

‘TPD has worked with Walmart West and Dodges on West Main to evacuate the stores and disperse people as much as practical. 

‘TPD also has been able to begin talking with the pilot directly.

‘At this time the situation is ongoing with TPD and all Emergency Services in our area on alert.

‘Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given. With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo.’

The plane is understood to be owned by Southeast Aviation LLC, and is a nine-seater with two engines.  

A spokesman for FBI’s Jackson field office said: ‘The FBI, in accordance with our state and local partners, are aware of the situation. This is an active and ongoing matter. We will provide additional information as we have it.’

No known motive for the pilot’s actions and threats were immediately known.

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