Man charged with attacking flight attendants, passenger

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Interior of a passenger airplane

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Virginia man flying from Washington, D.C., to Jacksonville, Florida, had to be restrained after attacking another passenger and two flight attendants.

The U.S. attorney’s office reported Monday that 36-year-old Joseph Michael Sharkey is charged with assault or intimidation of a flight crew. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

A criminal complaint says Sharkey was on a JetBlue flight Sunday when he verbally assaulted another passenger and then placed that passenger in a headlock. The complaint says Sharkey then fought with two flight attendants before he could be restrained.

The plane landed safely in Jacksonville, and airport police arrested Sharkey.

A formal detention hearing is set for Wednesday. An after-hours phone message left with the federal public defender’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

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