California doctor helps restrain passenger accused of trying to open door midflight

An orthopedic doctor from California was one of several passengers who helped restrain a man Sunday who authorities say rushed past flight attendants in an attempt to open the exit door of a plane flying from Chicago to Sacramento. reported that Dr. Scott Porter, a married father of two, said the suspect never relented during the struggle on the Southwest Airlines flight.

"I just knew if it was a terrorist, the only way I was going to get back to them was to take the matter in my own hands," Porter said.

The plane was diverted to Omaha, Neb., so that 23-year-old Joshua Carl Suggs could be removed after the incident, which happened about an hour into the flight. The flight with five crew members and 134 passengers then continued on to Sacramento and arrived safely about two hours behind schedule.


According to the complaint against the Sacramento man, Suggs twice refused to return to his seat, as instructed, before pushing his way past a flight attendant and trying to open a door. Several passengers helped restrain him.

"Once we had him on the ground, we put him in a full nelson, put his hands behind his back and were able to hold him there until we could get some zip ties and tie him up," Porter told the station.

The court documents said several passengers, including one law enforcement officer aboard, left their seats and helped subdue Suggs. Then Suggs was restrained and seated in a window seat next to the officer until the plane reached Omaha.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report