A developing story from Tupelo, Mississippi is unfolding.
Tupelo is a city in northeast Mississippi.
It’s known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, who is commemorated in numerous statues there.
The population of Tupelo is around 38,000.
Tupelo was originally called “Gum Pond” but its name would change to Tupelo because of the Tupelo gum trees that grew along the railroad route.
Tupelo is also famous for its honey, which due to its unusually high fructose to glucose ratio, releases the energy contained in the sugar molecules over a longer period of time and significantly reduces the feeling of a “crash” that is often associated with sucrose, also known as white or refined sugar.
But today there is evolving an emergency situation involving a different kind of crash.
Early this morning a plane was flying north of Tupelo in the “Benton, Union County Area” the Tupelo Police Department said in a statement.
At 8:35 am the police announced, ” Local, State, and Federal authorities are continuing to monitor this dangerous situation,” in a statement.
The statement read:
“On 09-03-2022 at approximately 05:00 TPD was notified that the pilot of an airplane (possibly King Air type) was flying over tupelo.
The pilot has made contact with E911 and is threatening to intentionally crash into Wal-Mart on West Main.
TPD has worked with Wal-Mart West and Dodges on West Main to evacuate the stores and disperse people as much as practical.
TPD also has been able to begin talking with the pilot directly
at this time the situation is ongoing with TPD and all Emergency services in our area on alert.
Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given.
With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo.
More information will be released when appropriate.”
A rogue pilot was threatening to crash a plane into a Mississippi Walmart as terrified residents watch the skies.
The New York Post reported that at 5 a.m., the purported kamikaze flyer, who authorities said is operating a possibly stolen Beechcraft King plane, contacted police and informed them of his alarming plans, according to a press release from the Tupelo Police Department.
Police have been speaking directly to the pilot and worked with Walmart and nearby stores to evacuate customers.
As of 8 a.m., the situation was ongoing and the plane was still above the town of approximately 38,000 people.
The situation was gaining some clarity.
Reports said that the plane is a Beechcraft Kin Air 90 turbo prop from Tupelo Airport.
It is a nine-seater with two engines, and reportedly is a private plane.
The Tupelo Daily Journal reported that the plane is owned by a local urologist but is now stolen.
The pilot reportedly works at the airport, although the suspect’s grievance is unclear, the outlet stated.
The pilot spoke with authorities, threatening to crash the plane in the densely populated area around the Wal-Mart.
“Currently we have a 29yr old who stole this plane & is threatening to crash it into something. Polices,ambulances,& fire trucks are everywhere. Everything is shutdown…”
Currently we have a 29yr old who stole this plane & is threatening to crash it into something. Polices ,ambulances ,& fire trucks are everywhere. Everything is shutdown rn pic.twitter.com/AzebdIa3tP
— City King (@CityKing_Gank_) September 3, 2022
The pilot was reportedly flying in circles as he spoke to authorities with his threats.
A map shows what appeared to be the plane’s course – an erratic, zigzag pattern that appears to be at random.
Governor Tate Reeves reiterated, “State law enforcement and emergency managers are closely tracking this dangerous situation.”
“All citizens should be on alert and aware of updates from the Tupelo police department,” the governor continued.
Authorities evacuated the area as the plane made loop after loop in the sky, knowing that the situation could escalate fast.
At around 9am, the plane left Tupelo airspace and travelled northwest, where it was seen again making circles over various towns.
Law enforcement told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal shortly after 8am that the plane had left the airspace around Tupelo and was flying near a Toyota manufacturing plant in nearby Blue Springs, meandering and following a looping path.
CNN reported at around 11am that a government source familiar with the situation told the news outlet that the aircraft was currently flying over the Holly Springs National Forest, and that Tupelo police were no longer in communication with the pilot.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced they are “aware and is cooperating with local law enforcement,” the agency said to CNN in an email.
The FAA dictates that, “Distress communications have absolute priority over all other communications.” and the federal authorities are monitoring the situation as the plane flies over many jurisdictions.
Another federal agency is involved as well.
The Department of Homeland Security is working to determine the motive of the pilot.
CNN reported that investigators have been in communication with the pilot, and are monitoring the flight’s path.
Leslie Criss, a magazine editor living in Tupelo told the AP “I’ve never seen anything like this in this town. Its a scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning.”