How the Orlando airport standoff unfolded

OIA releases timeline of armed man's standoff with police

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - A mentally distressed former Marine armed with a fake gun attempted "suicide by cop" during a nearly three-hour standoff with police at the Orlando International Airport before peacefully surrendering, authorities said.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority released a timeline of events and how authorities responded. Here is how the standoff unfolded based on the GOAA timeline released, Orange County jail records, Orlando police and the Florida Highway Patrol updates.

  • 7:13 p.m. Michael Pettigrew, 26, sends the last text message to a friend in Pennsylvania who called Orlando police. "He text me saying something crazy like he was going to take a gun to Orlando International Airport," the caller said.
  • 7:22 p.m. A man with a weapon was reported at Orlando International Airport. GOAA officials said the man was quickly contained on the first level A side of the terminal building by Orlando police.
  • 7:30 p.m. The A side of the terminal building was evacuated and people were moved to the B side of the terminal.
  • 7:52 p.m. Several other Central Florida law enforcement agencies arrive to assist with traffic control
  • 8:14 p.m. Orlando police SWAT and negotiating experts were called in and the man remained contained
  • 8:19 p.m. traffic on southbound Semoran Boulevard was shut down
  • 8:20 p.m. Northbound Semoran traffic into the airport was shut down
  • 8:26 p.m. "All roads leading to Orlando airport are shut down, zero exceptions," according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  • 8:47 p.m. After false reports of the suspect being captured Orlando police reiterate that "There has been no arrest."
  • 9:02 p.m. All flights into MCO were delayed by the FAA. All flights en route to Orlando that had not left their departing airport were suspended.
  • 9:04 p.m. Orlando police said the situation is not an :active shooter, no shots fired."
  • 9:39 p.m. The FAA lifted the ground stop for all aircraft at MCO
  • 10:01 p.m. Orlando police take the suspect into custody. Police said no one was injured.
  • 10:15 p.m. Both A and B garages reopened to traffic
  • 10:22 p.m. Levels 2 and 3 of the A terminal were reopened to passengers
  • 11:00 p.m. Orlando police Chief John Mina identified the man as Michael Pettigrew and revealed the weapon was a replica firearm not capable of firing.
  • 11:17 p.m. Police said Pettigrew is held under the Baker Act and will be charged with one count of aggravated assault with a firearm on an LEO
  • 5:19 a.m. Pettigrew is booked into the Orange County Jail, according to jail records.

Mina said Pettigrew pointed the fake gun at officer and said “shoot me, shoot me!”

Hundreds of law enforcement officers responded to the airport, Mina said.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Chairman Frank Kruppenbacher praised the response of both law enforcement and airport employees.

"Our employees did everything in accordance with what OPD has trained them to do," Kruppenbacher said. "You couldn't have a better resolution. No one was hurt. The airport continued to operate on the other side."

Some flights were delayed during the ordeal, but airport operations were returning to normal late Tuesday night.


 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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