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Press Release

Tennessee Man Sentenced to Prison for Assaulting Flight Attendant in Austin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – A Tennessee man was sentenced in a federal court in Austin to six months in prison for simple assault on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.

According to court documents, on March 20, 2022, Michael Goins, Jr., 35, of Spring Hill, assaulted a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight. The aircraft landed at Austin Bergstrom International Airport and was sitting on the airport apron awaiting the availability of an arrival gate. Goins, a passenger, loudly uttered several expletives during a cell phone call which was overheard by passengers seated near him. A passenger traveling with children was disturbed by the language used by Goins, which led to his aggressive response toward the passenger. During an altercation, Goins intentionally and deliberately pushed his closed fist into a flight attendant’s upper abdomen and pushed her back, causing her pain.

The six-month prison sentence is the statutory maximum. In addition to his imprisonment, Goins was ordered to pay $650.00 in restitution.

“This prison sentence reflects the seriousness of these types of crimes and promotes respect for the law,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “Airline passengers and employees should be able to travel safely, and this violent behavior cannot be tolerated.”

"As a passenger on an active flight, Mr. Goins disruptive behavior escalated into a violent outburst directed at a flight attendant,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron G. Tapp of the FBI San Antonio Field Office. “The FBI is dedicated to ensuring Americans can go to work and travel by plane without the fear of being attacked. We are grateful to our partners at the Austin Police Department for their work on this case – and their ongoing dedication to keeping our citizens safe.”

The FBI and Austin Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Pierce prosecuted the case.


Updated January 31, 2024

Violent Crime