The problems started for the Southwest Airlines flight before its wheels even moved an inch.

Belligerent Passenger Forces Southwest Flight to Make Emergency Landing

Lemar Sheron Rogers is accused of belligerently disrupting a flight. (Image source: Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

A passenger boarded the plane in Seattle on Tuesday morning and claimed he had a first-class ticket.

Flight attendants told him he couldn’t possibly hold such a ticket since the Sacramento-bound flight with just over 40 passengers had no first-class seating.

That was just the beginning.

According to the Oregonian, citing court documents, Lemar Sheron Rogers’ behavior grew far worse, eventually forcing the flight to make an emergency landing hundreds of miles short of its destination.

After the first-class seating dust-up, flight attendants asked Rogers three times to stow his luggage. His response?

“I do what I want,” Rogers said, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S District Court in Portland.

He then started pressing the call button above his seat. When a flight attendant asked Rogers if he had an emergency, court papers documented what was apparently quite urgent for him:

“Yea… I need a (expletive) drink!”

A woman sitting with her daughter, unnerved by Rogers’ outbursts and behavior, asked to be moved. And Rogers continued pressing the call button, cursing and barking for alcohol as the plane taxied.

When the plane reached cruising altitude, Rogers got more specific with his drink demands, saying he wanted three glasses of wine.

After an attendant told Rogers he could have only one glass at a time, things intensified.

“Get the (expletive) out of my face,” he offered, adding, “Jesus loves you.”

Soon Rogers was swearing at passengers, flashing what appeared to be gang signs, and demanding to talk to the pilot.

The flight crew wasn’t taking any chances, documents indicate. One attendant asked a passenger to help her restrain Rogers if he became violent; another boiled a pot of water to use against Rogers in case he attempted to approach the flight deck.

Having seen and heard enough, and with about 600 miles left to travel to Sacramento, the pilot made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport, where a pair of Port of Portland police took Rogers into custody while he rambled about Jesus.

Rogers told authorities he was smoking “purple hash” before the flight but didn’t feel high aboard the plane, according to court records, adding that the signs he “threw up were for Jesus,” not for gangs, and that the woman switched seats earlier because he is black.

Rogers was charged with interfering with flight crew members. There was no further information on the suspect, but the FBI is reportedly handling the case.

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