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Exam Ordered for Cockpit Suspect

March 18, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A judge has ordered a psychological examination of the man accused of bursting into the cockpit of an Alaska Airlines jet and attacking the co-pilot.

Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman on Friday ordered the evaluation for Peter Bradley, 39, who showed up in court with a black eye and bruises police say he got when passengers and crew members tackled him on the jet Thursday night.

Bradley faces a single charge of interfering with flight crew members and attendants, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Zimmerman scheduled a second hearing for Wednesday.

Public defender Ron Tyler said Bradley has no history of substance abuse or psychiatric problems. Neighbors said he has a wife and a teen-age son. Both were headed to the San Francisco Bay area Friday.

Witnesses said Bradley began to exhibit strange behavior shortly after Flight 259 left Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for San Francisco with 48 people aboard. He stripped off his shoes, socks and shirt, wandered from seat to seat and spoke incoherently.

Flight attendants repeatedly intervened, asking him to put his shirt on and take a seat. He obeyed, but not for long. He roamed the aisles, muttering to himself.

``He was saying things like, ’It’s not about what fell on the floor, it’s not about lost love. I know he’s here, I know he’s here somewhere,‴ said Donnie Benjamin of West Linn, Ore.

At one point, the captain came back to talk to the man, but it did little good. He became more agitated, and the flight attendants were unable to control him.

He allegedly tried to open an outside door and shoved a flight attendant. Chris Honochick, a former Southern Oregon University football player and wrestler, saw the man batter his way into the cockpit.

``The plane actually took a dip,″ Donnie Benjamin said. ``Everybody could feel it go down.″

The pilot used an ax to fend off Bradley, a 6-foot-2 carpenter weighing 250 pounds, who lunged for the controls and shouted ``I’m going to kill you,″ according to a court affidavit.

Honochick and others grabbed the man and the co-pilot lashed the man’s feet and hands with plastic ties. Police met the flight and an ambulance crew strapped the man to a gurney and took him to a nearby hospital.

Bradley’s neighbors in Blue Springs, Mo., were stunned. In the working class Kansas City suburb, Bradley is known as a neighbor who is quick to wave. In winters, he attaches a giant scraping blade to the front of his pickup truck and pushes snow from their driveways.

``That doesn’t fit his profile at all,″ said Bob Bresnahan, 28, who has lived two doors down from Bradley for more than three years. ``He’s very polite.″

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