PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People fled Portland International Airport on Friday night after airport police attempted to arrest an individual with a warrant who struggled with police and reached for an officer’s gun, the Port of Portland confirmed.
An unauthorized evacuation announcement over the loudspeaker, isolated to the baggage claim-area, caused people to run from the airport.
Joshua Frank was outside of arrivals with his wife at the time, waiting to be picked up by his in-laws. Then, he said, a big storm of people came out of the doors.
“It kind of almost looked like a stampede,” Frank said.
Frank said an officer told him and others to get to the parking garage. He also said the officer told him someone had allegedly taken a firearm from a police officer. He called the situation “frantic.”
“It seemed top be a little bit of chaos, and of course in our day and age, anything like that can spark a lot of anxiety in people,” Frank said. “Fortunately it seemed like everything was taken care of pretty quickly.”
An additional announcement was made minutes later indicating that there was no emergency and the airport was clear.
The Port of Portland said the person — later identified as 25-year-old Alexander F. Plata — reached for an officer’s gun, but never actually touched it. Backup was also called, however Plata continued to “violently resist” arrest, according to authorities. The Port of Portland said no one was injured and Plata is now in custody.
Plata had a misdemeanor warrant out of Marion County. After Friday’s incident, he is also charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.
No flights were affected by the incident.
Plata pleaded not guilty on Tuesday afternoon. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 10.