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Mass. man accused of trying to stab flight attendant, open emergency door will undergo mental health evaluation 3/9/2023 Abby Patkin

A Leominster man accused of trying to stab a flight attendant earlier this week appeared in federal court Thursday, where he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

More on the airplane incident

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, allegedly attempted to open an emergency door onboard United Airlines flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston, then was captured on video ranting at fellow passengers before allegedly trying to stab a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon.

Torres is charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, and he could face up to life in prison if convicted. has reached out to his lead public defender for comment. 

On Thursday, a judge ordered Torres to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine his competency before making a decision on detention, WCVB reported.

Torres’s defense team said he objected to the exam, the news outlet reported.

“My name is still Balthazar by God,” he yelled as he was escorted out of court, according to WCVB.

Torres also called himself “Balthazar” in video clips that fellow passengers captured of the in-flight incident, during which he threatened to “kill every man on this plane.”

“Tell them to bring SWAT to shoot me down, because they’re going to have to shoot me down today. Remember that,” Torres said in the video. “Where are they diverting us? Because wherever it is, there’s going to be a blood bath everywhere.” 

Passengers and flight crew tackled and restrained him with plastic ties following the alleged stabbing attempt, The Boston Globe previously reported.  

Torres later told investigators that he tried to open the emergency door to jump out of the plane, according to an affidavit from a Boston police detective working with the FBI as a federal task force officer. 

Regarding the alleged stabbing attempt, Torres “stated that he believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him, so he was trying to kill the flight attendant first,” according to the affidavit.

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