Daniel Ramirez: Man jumps off taxiing Southwest Airlines plane saying 'somebody's after me'
Daniel Ramirez jumped off Flight 4236 moments after its arrival at Sky Harbor International Airport from Colorado Springs
A passenger on a Southwest Airlines plane that had just arrived at Phoenix's main airport opened a galley door and jumped out while the plan was still taxiing before he ran to an airport fire station and barricaded himself because he thought "somebody was after him".
Daniel Ramirez, 30, jumped off Flight 4236 moments after its arrival at Sky Harbor International Airport from Colorado Springs, Colorado at about 8 am on Saturday, December 4. Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson said the plane's captain notified the control tower after Ramirez "exited the aircraft" so local authorities could respond to the situation. He then ran to the fire station, walked into a dorm room and proceeded to lock himself inside, according to Phoenix Fire Department Captain Todd Keller, ABC 15 Arizona reported.
While authorities did not reveal why Ramirez exited the craft, his mother made an emotional plea to not judge her son. "I don’t want him to be portrayed as some oh…some crazy guy that jumped out off the plane. You know. I mean, he was running and hiding because he thought somebody was after him," Theresa Padilla told ABC 15.
Keller told the station in an email that firefighters were able to get Ramirez to unlock the door and he was later evaluated, treated for a leg injury and taken to a hospital. Meanwhile, the plane proceeded to its designated gate with the remaining passengers without any further incident. However, Ramirez was booked for two felony counts of trespassing following the incident.
Ramirez's mother said his family was already concerned about his well-being before he departed Colorado for Phoenix, which was supposed to be a layover stop before he flew home to California. Speaking to ABC 15, Padilla said she video called her son before he boarded the plane and immediately understood something was wrong. She said her son was in Colorado for a tiling job but had abruptly decided to return home fearing for his life. The embattled parent said they immediately called him upon learning about his paranoid state of mind.
Ramirez’s sister-in-law Emily Luevano, who was also on the video call, told the outlet how they were "on the phone with him for seven hours. He was paranoid saying someone’s going to get me. Someone’s going to kill me. I told him, I said…we’re not going to leave you alone. We’re not going to leave you alone," Padilla added. That said, an investigation is underway and the Phoenix Police Department is yet to provide additional information including what led up to the incident.
Ramirez's family is hoping he's granted a mental evaluation as he may be schizophrenic owing to their family history. They described him as a kind and loving man despite his mental health issues. "And I’m not going to give up because his mental health comes first, above anything," Padilla said of her son through tears. "Don't judge them because you don’t know. You don't live in their shoes. You don't know what they go through on a daily basis." The heartbroken mother is hoping to have Ramirez back home to California as soon as possible so she can get him the help he needs.
Sky Harbor spokesperson Julie Rodriguez said the incident did not delay airport operations. "Local authorities responded to the situation and shortly after the flight continued to its designated gate with all remaining customers and crew," the airline said in a statement.