Delta flight diverted: Off-duty employee who was arrested handed over note warning of ‘terrorist,' report says

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The off-duty Delta flight attendant accused of causing a disturbance that forced one of the airline’s planes to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City over the weekend allegedly handed a note to a crew member warning that there was a “terrorist on board,” a report says. 

Stephon Jamar Duncan, 34, has been identified as the “unruly” individual Delta says was detained by crew members and passengers late Friday night during Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta. A video purportedly captured of the incident shows several people involved in a struggle at the front of the plane. 

“I am ATL based, alert Delta manager, terrorist on board. 95835/contact pilots,” read a note that a Delta crew member says he received from Duncan during the flight, according to an Oklahoma City Police report viewed by FOX23. Investigators are said to have retrieved the note as evidence. 

Stephon Jamar Duncan has been identified as the off-duty Delta employee accused of causing a disturbance on a recent flight.


Oklahoma City police also told Fox News early Saturday that Duncan had said out loud that “he would take the plane down.” 

On Monday, a Delta spokesperson confirmed to USA Today that Duncan is an off-duty flight attendant who had been on leave prior to the disturbance. 

While the flight was in the air, Duncan began making statements about being seated next to a terrorist and ignored commands to remain seated and to stop frightening passengers, crew members told police, according to FOX23. 

A passenger also told investigators that Duncan seized control of the plane’s announcement system and said to those on board to fasten their seatbelts as the aircraft is being taken over and would travel below 10,000 feet, the station added. 

Police are seen responding after Delta Flight 1730 landed in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Courtesy Benjamin Curlee)

Investigators said when a crew member tried to stop Duncan, he shoved him against a wall and then choked an off-duty female employee who had come to that individual’s rescue, FOX23 reported, citing the police document. 


Separately, a crew member that spoke to Oklahoma City police said Duncan stashed random items throughout the plane during the flight, such as tennis balls with writing on them and food, according to FOX23. 

The FBI is now investigating the case and Duncan – who is not yet facing charges – is reportedly being held at the Oklahoma County Jail. 

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