An unruly passenger was arrested after allegedly punching a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight from San José del Cabo, Mexico, to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Alexander Tung Cuu Le, 33, was arrested after the flight landed at LAX on suspicion of interfering with a flight. The FBI took over the investigation into the mid-air incident.

Video footage, shared on social media by a passenger, shows a flight attendant standing in the aisle asking a passenger wearing an orange shirt, “Are you threatening me?”

As the American Airlines employee was leaving, the unruly passenger appeared to lash out and punch the attendant from behind. Audible gunshots could be heard by those nearby.


Before the incident, Le was acting aggressively toward a flight attendant by grabbing her shoulder and asking her for coffee, according to an arrest affidavit via CBS Los Angeles.

The unruly passenger then made his way to the front of the plane, where he stood near the first class area and sat in an open seat. When a flight attendant asked the passenger to return to his seat, Le allegedly refused and tried to punch the worker but missed. He then assaulted the flight attendant, as seen in the footage.

After reportedly punching the American Airlines employee, the unruly passenger went back to the front of the plane but was stopped by other passengers.

Le was moved to another row while handcuffed by the arms and legs. However, he continued to unbuckle his seat belt, resulting in attendants using belt extenders to restrain him.

American Airlines released a statement about the attack:

Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines. The individual involved in this incident will never be allowed to travel with us in the future and we will work closely with law enforcement in their investigation.

Le was scheduled to make a court appearance Thursday afternoon, CBS Los Angeles noted. The maximum sentence he faces, if convicted of all charges, is 20 years in prison.

This year as of Tuesday, the FAA has received 1,973 reports of unruly passengers, 680 initiated investigations and 468 initiated enforcement actions.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.

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