A man who attacked Transportation Security Administration workers at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans with a machete on Friday night died Saturday from gunshots fired by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Heather Slyve, who rescued at least one TSA agent who was wounded in the attack.
Slyve shot Richard White, 63, three times after he neared an airport security checkpoint, drew out a can of wasp killer, sprayed passengers and TSA agents, then pulled a large machete out of his pants and attacked the TSA agents. One male TSA agent picked up a bag and threw it at White but White bolted through a metal detector to attack TSA agent Caroll Richel, who yelled for everyone to run and then ran toward Slyve.
Slyve grabbed her firearm, but White refused to stop swinging the weapon, whereupon Slyve shot him in the face, chest and leg. Richel was wounded by one shot that hit her arm, but did not blame Slyve, instead crediting her and saying, “Officer Slyve is my hero.” Describing the attack at a press conference, she said, “The man was within inches of whacking me with a machete. This man was swinging very hard, very hard with that machete. Thank God the officer was as close as she was because I wouldn’t be here today.”
Police found six gasoline-filled Molotov cocktails and a barbecue lighter in White’s bag, and an acetylene tank and smoke bombs in his car, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. Normand said there was no evidence White wanted to get on the plane. The sheriff’s office said White had a record of a series of minor violations.
David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, representing 45,000 TSA officers, commented, “For years, AFGE has advocated for a new law enforcement unit within TSA, specially trained and armed to respond to such attacks, and for other safety measures at screening checkpoints.”