A man who caused a Southwest Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Amarillo on Tuesday is blaming his unruly behavior on schizophrenia, his attorney said.
Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn, who is representing 29-year-old Ali Reza Shahsavari, told Pronews 7 the plane made an emergency landing because Shahsavari had a breakdown.
"This is a poor guy who's extremely mentally ill and had an episode, a breakdown, on an airplane," Blackburn said. "It's really not more complicated than that."
Blackburn said his client, who is from Florida, was on his way back home to seek treatment for schizophrenia. The flight was going cross-county from Los Angeles with a final destination of Orlando.
"His sister was taking him back home to Florida to see if the family could get him checked into a mental institution to get him on new medicine," Blackburn said.
Southwest Airlines Flight 3683 made the emergency landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. According to the indictment, Shahsavari became disruptive during the flight. The indictment said he intimidated crew members by screaming profanity and damaged the plane's lavatory.
Shahsavari was immediately taken into custody and made his initial court appearance on Thursday.
As for now, Blackburn told Pronews 7, they are working with prosecutors to ensure Shahsavari receives medical treatment for his condition.
Arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, Blackburn said.