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Orlando standoff suspect pleads not guilty

Suicidal man created 3-hour standoff at OIA, police say

Michael Pettigrew, 26, is charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm  after police said he caused a three-hour standoff at the Orlando International Airport on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.
Michael Pettigrew, 26, is charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm after police said he caused a three-hour standoff at the Orlando International Airport on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The suicidal veteran who police said caused a three-hour standoff last month at the Orlando International Airport entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday, according to court records.

Michael Pettigrew, 26, a former Marine, is charged with aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer for pointing a simulated firearm at an Orlando police officer during the hourslong standoff, records showed.

Pettigrew's public defender entered a written plea of not guilty and waived his arraignment.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said the charge is because the simulated firearm was so realistic, officers did not know that it wasn't an actual weapon until after Pettigrew was arrested. Officers convinced Pettigrew to put the object down and speak to negotiators.

MORE COVERAGE: How the Orlando airport standoff unfolded Ex-Marine was discharged prior to standoff | Suspect yelled 'kill me' to officers, report shows

Pettigrew was taken to a hospital to be held under the Baker Act after his arrest before being booked into jail. Pettigrew remains in the Orange County Jail 21 days after his arrest. He has four undisclosed holds, according to jail records.

During his first appearance on June 1, an Orange County circuit judge increased Pettigrew’s bail amount from $2,500 to $7,500, citing his lack of ties to the community and previous criminal history. Pettigrew was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 after stabbing a corporal with a knife, documents showed.

Pettigrew's public defender argued against increasing the bond, because his parents will likely be the ones to pay it.

 

The judge also ordered Pettigrew not return to the airport and to turn over any weapons.