Airport standoff suspect yelled 'kill me' to officers, report shows

Man shows 'gun,' tells worker to call 911, asks to speak to president

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - The man who created a nearly three-hour standoff Tuesday at the Orlando International Airport walked up to a Mears Transportation counter, showed an employee his gun and told her to call 911, according to Orlando police.

The shocked employee said Michael Pettigrew, 26, told her to ask 911 dispatchers to bring the police and that he wanted to speak to the president.

The gun was later determined to be a simulated firearm that could not have been fired.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said it was clear to responding officers that Pettigrew was having some sort of mental health crisis. Pettigrew served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2009-2012, Mina said.

A witness on level 1 of the A terminal in the USO office told police that he saw Pettigrew with a gun to his head.

[LISTEN BELOW: Friend of suspect calls 911 to warn police]

Orlando police received a call from a man in Pennsylvania who said his friend, Mike, was going to do "something crazy like he was going to take a gun to the Orlando International Airport."

"He told me he wasn’t planning on shooting anybody but he wants to have a cop shoot him," the caller said.

When asked if Pettigrew had any mental or physical disabilities the friend said "I don’t believe so. I know he’s got some anger issues. He was in the military ... he was in the Marines."

The last text message the caller got from Pettigrew was at 7:13 p.m. when he was already in the airport.

When officers arrived around 7:20 p.m. Pettigrew was standing in front of the Dollar Rent a Car Counter, according to the arrest report. Police said he pointed what appeared to be a semi-auto pistol at them and officers gave Pettigrew multiple commands to drop the weapon and get on the ground.

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.

Officer Charles Wadley wrote in the arrest report that Pettigrew pointed the fake weapon at him and although he thought he was going to get shot, passengers were running everywhere and he chose to see cover and not shoot the suspect.

Wadley was a few yards away from Pettigrew.

"We just don't want to fire at suspects and possibly injure innocent civilians who happen to be behind him or near him," Mina said. 

Passengers were running in all directions making the situation more chaotic, according to the report.

Witness video from the scene shows officers with their guns drawn yelling, "Put it down, bud, put it down" and "We're gonna help you, man."

Officers said Pettigrew told them to "kill me" and placed the gun to his head. Orlando police SWAT team members were able to take Pettigrew into custody just after 10 p.m.

Pettigrew will be held under the Baker Act to receive mental health services. He is charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer with a bond amount of $2,500.

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