Shoe Bomb Alert Preceded Shooting

Law enforcement sources had been on alert for a possible shoe bomber when a federal air marshal killed a passenger in Miami on Wednesday, ABC reported yesterday, as conflicting reports surfaced about the shooting.

Officials told ABC an Egyptian man was stopped at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport a week ago with a pair of shoes that tested positive for an explosive substance. The FBI was notified after he was released, and put out a nationwide alert. FBI officials told ABC yesterday they located the Egyptian man in Iowa and that he is not considered a threat.

Logan International Airport spokesman Phil Orlandela said he was ``not at liberty to comment'' on the shoe incident, but said, ``We are aware of it. They have advised us of it.''

Passenger Rigoberto Alpizar, 44, and his wife boarded the Miami plane Wednesday afternoon. A few minutes before the plane was to pull away, Alpizar bolted up the aisle and onto the jetway, where two air marshals confronted him.

``He was belligerent. He threatened that he had a bomb in his backpack,'' said Brian Doyle, spokesman for the U.S. Homeland Security Department. ``The officers clearly identified themselves and yelled at him to `Get down, get down.' Instead, he made a move toward the backpack.''

But at least one passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 924 told Time magazine the air marshals were too quick on the draw.

``I don't think they needed to use deadly force with the guy,'' John McAlhany, a construction worker from Sebastian, Fla., told Time. ``He was getting off the plane.'' McAlhany also said Alpizar never mentioned having a bomb.

Agents are trained to shoot to stop a threat, and the situation on the jetway appeared to pose one, said John Amat, a deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami.

Orlandela said Logan increased its state police patrols yesterday. ``They've got more police patrols, including the people with the sub-machine guns,'' he said.

But Logan passengers shrugged off the incident. Asked if she was jittery about flying to Orlando yesterday, passenger Lisa McMorrow, 40, of Boston said, ``No, not at all, I just think that was a freak occurence.'' - HERALD STAFF



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