LEOMINSTER, Mass. (AP) — The music was blaring on a February afternoon when Francisco Torres stopped by a Massachusetts barbershop, proclaiming he was half-angel, half-devil.
He wanted a dozen people to come outside the shop and shoot him with an automatic weapon stored in his car trunk. Before anyone could make sense of the request, Torres fled the shop and drove off. They never saw a weapon and he didn’t return.
“I didn’t get what he was saying but then I realized he was talking about a gun. I told him there are kids in here, why are you saying this,” said Saul Perez, who was visiting friends at the shop and noted that an employee called 911, ushered children into the back and shut down the shop. “I was spooked.”
The incident took place about a week before Torres would be arrested for attacking a flight attendant and attempting to open the plane’s emergency door on a cross-country United flight from Los Angeles to Boston earlier this month.
Confrontations on flights have skyrocketed since the pandemic started, with some altercations captured and replayed endlessly on social media.
In a video taken by a fellow passenger, Torres loudly threatens to kill people and promises a bloodbath before charging the front of the plane, where a group of passengers tackled him down to the ground to restrain him.
He remains behind bars pending a mental health evaluation, with a judge ruling he “may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent.”
Torres objected to the evaluation through his federal public defender, Joshua Hanye, who didn’t return a call Thursday seeking additional comment. A relative for Torres would not comment on the case.
The flight attack was part of a decadeslong pattern of Torres demonstrating signs of a mental illness. He spent time in mental health facilities, according to lawsuits since closed that he filed in 2021 and 2022 against two hospitals in Massachusetts.
judge ruling he “may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect".....""MAY""... Come on he "is" Suffering..and if he refuses the test (evaluation), charge him and put him in Prison....Forever. The Families usually know when their family member is about to Snap....They need to get the "Word Out" ASAP with whatever means it takes... to bring attention to the situation.
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