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Posted: May 31, 2017

Orlando airport standoff: Mother with children feared she'd be shot in the back


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By Jason Kelly and Sarahbeth Ackerman, WFTV.com

ORLANDO, Fla. —

Operations at Florida's Orlando International Airport resumed as normal Wednesday morning, hours after the end of a standoff involving a 26-year-old man holding a fake gun, the Orlando Police Department said.

>> Watch the news report here

Michael Wayne Pettigrew was undergoing a psychological evaluation following the two-hour standoff during which he threatened to harm himself and pointed a fake gun at officers at a rental car area on the airport's ground floor, Orlando police Chief John Mina said.

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Police said that shortly before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, they received a report that there was an armed man at the airport.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Passengers describe standoff at Orlando International Airport

"Our negotiators did a phenomenal job talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender," Mina said.

The suspect surrendered at about 10 p.m.

Crystal Oliphant said she was picking up her husband from the airport Tuesday night.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Orlando police Chief John Mina news conference on OIA standoff

"(We were) terrified," she said. "Immediately, we think that there's a bomb or that there's a shooting going on. And we're not getting any information. And there's hundreds of police (officers) just coming in."

Passengers and employees bolted once they realized what was happening.

Witness Kim Turner told WFTV that she saw the suspect dressed in black but she couldn't make out his face because she was hiding with her two children.

>> On WFTV.com: Photos: Standoff at Orlando International Airport

Turner waited for an opportunity to run to safety, and when she did, she said she saw the suspect point what appeared to be a gun at his own head.

Although the gun was fake, it seemed very real to Turner.

"I actually had a thought of me getting shot in the back," she said. "I was standing here, literally just sitting here, looking at him, waiting, because everybody else is gone."

No one was injured in the incident.


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