This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A 60-year-old Salt Lake City man is accused of threatening to slit the throat of a seatmate aboard a flight from Utah to Las Vegas on Sunday after becoming enraged over an armrest and leg space.
David Alan Anderson was charged in U.S. District Court on Tuesday with felony counts of having a dangerous weapon on an aircraft and retaliation against a federal law enforcement officer in connection with a tantrum he threw on Delta Air Lines Flight 2478 Sunday morning.
Anderson allegedly walked to his assigned seat, 5A, shortly before the plane's scheduled 9:50 a.m. departure time. He sat in his seat and began elbowing the passenger in seat 5B in an attempt to "claim" the armrest between the two, according to a court complaint.
The passenger inched away from Anderson and allowed him to have the armrest, but Anderson then placed his foot on the passenger's leg, the complaint states.
The passenger told Anderson, "Sir, you are going to have to move over."
Five minutes later, the passenger glanced up to see Anderson staring at him, the complaint states.
Anderson allegedly told the passenger, "If I had a knife, I would slit your throat right now."
The passenger alerted flight attendants, who saw that Anderson appeared to have an object cupped in his hands and also kept reaching into a bag, the complaint states.
Salt Lake City police officers were notified and discovered a Gerber folding knife with a 3.5-inch blade in Anderson's carry-on bag, according to the complaint.
While police were transporting to the police station, he threatened the officers, charges allege.
Anderson allegedly told one cop, "I'll find out where you live and cut your eyeballs and kill you," the complaint states. He also told an FBI agent, "Your days are not long," and "I'll pull your eyeballs out," according to the complaint.
He ended the conversation by saying, "It will give me a lot of pleasure to see you again, but you won't see me, Bucko," the complaint states.
Anderson is set to appear at a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Paul Warner on Thursday. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted on both counts.