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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 1, 2016

Virginia Man Arrested At Jacksonville Airport For Assault On Flight Crew

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the filing of a federal criminal complaint charging Joseph Michael Sharkey (36, Reston, VA) with assault or intimidation of a flight crew.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. 

According to the criminal complaint, on Sunday, January 31, 2016, Sharkey was a passenger on Jet Blue Flight 715 from Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC to Jacksonville International Airport (JIA). During the flight, Sharkey verbally assaulted another passenger and then placed that passenger in a headlock. When ordered by a flight attendant to return to his seat, Sharkey at first complied but then assaulted the flight attendant and made an effort exit the airplane through an exit door. Sharkey was stopped by another flight attendant, but then fought with him, kneeing him in the groin. The flight attendants enlisted the help of volunteers and subdued Sharkey, placing him in flex cuffs for the remainder of the flight. The airplane landed safely at JIA and Sharkey was removed from the flight by airport police.

Sharkey made his initial appearance in Jacksonville earlier today. He was temporarily ordered detained until his formal detention hearing, which has been scheduled for February 3, 2016.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.         

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department and the Jacksonville Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale Campion.

Updated February 1, 2016