An Orange County man is facing criminal charges for allegedly punching a flight attendant in the back of the head on a flight from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday.
The suspect, 33-year-old Alexander Tung Cuu Le from Westminster, is facing a felony charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants. He could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
While aboard an American Airlines flight on Wednesday, video filmed by a passenger shows a man striking a flight attendant in the head shortly after takeoff.
Court documents say Le stood up and left his seat while flight attendants were conducting food and beverage services. He was seen grabbing an attendant’s shoulder while asking for coffee. Moments later, he grabbed both of the attendant’s shoulders, officials say.
Le then walked to the front of the airplane cabin and allegedly sat in an unoccupied seat near the first-class area.
When employees asked Le to return to his assigned seat, he refused and “assumed a fighting stance towards the flight attendant by making closed fists with both of his hands.”
Video captured by a passenger shows Le swinging his arm at the attendant, but missing contact. As the attendant turns around to report him to the pilot, Le is seen rushing at the attendant and striking him in the back of the head.
The man flees towards the rear of the plane where he was detained by passengers. His hands and legs were later cuffed while he was moved to another row.
During detainment, Le “continuously unbuckled his seatbelt, causing flight attendants to restrain him to the seat with seatbelt extenders.”
Le is expected to appear in a U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles.