2017-10-18 / Front Page

LaG Bomb Threat Guy ‘Just Making Joke’

By Liz Goff
A senior citizen with a cavalier approach toward bomb threats sent a wave of panic through Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday morning, Port Authority police said.

Il John Park, 70, was buying a ticket at a Spirit Airlines counter in Terminal B at LaGuardia at about 7 a.m. on October 14, when an agent told him of the fee to check his bag, according to police.

Park, who was on his way to visit his brother in Detroit, argued with the agent and stormed away, leaving the bag behind. When the agent told Park he couldn’t abandon the bag, he returned to the counter and said there was a bomb inside.

Port Authority police took Park into custody, flights were diverted from Terminal B, pre-security areas were closed and evacuated and screening checkpoints were closed for about two hours while travelers waited outside.

Port Authority police and a SWAT Team armed with long guns swarmed into the terminal, moving people out of the way while shouting, “Get Back, Get Back!” a police source said. “A lot of people just stood there, didn’t move at all at first, and just shouted complaints at the cops about the delay,” the source said. “It didn’t make sense. Apparently, people have to be educated to understand that any bomb threat is taken very seriously, especially in New York City.”

The NYPD Bomb Squad was called to the scene to check the bag. Bomb Squad cops confirmed that there was no device and reopened the terminal at about 9:50 a.m., police said.

Park was charged with one felony count of making a terrorist threat at his night court arraignment at Queens Criminal Court, where he was released without bail.

Park later insisted that police and Port Authority officials overreacted to his bomb threat. “I was going to Detroit and was visiting my brother,” Park said outside the Kew Gardens courthouse.

“I’m an Asian,” he said. “I have a different culture, making jokes here and there. They just overreacted.”


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