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Man Is Held in Ruckus on Jet

Passengers on the flight from Hawaii use duct tape to bind the suspect after a disturbance.

September 15, 2003|Jia-Rui Chong | Times Staff Writer

Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight from Honolulu restrained and bound an Austin, Texas, man who became agitated after reading loudly from a Bible, officials said.

When the plane landed at Los Angeles International Airport early Sunday, Brian Kane Eager, 36, was taken into FBI custody for 72 hours of psychological evaluation, said FBI spokesman Matt McLaughlin. None of the 347 passengers or 11 crew members aboard the Boeing 777 was injured, officials said.

Eager began reading the Bible out loud shortly after United Flight 54 flight took off at 8:48 p.m. Saturday, McLaughlin said.

"People asked him to be quiet," the FBI spokesman said, but Eager "got agitated. A child cried. He said he needed to help the child. He pushed past a flight attendant." At that point, several passengers, including an off-duty federal immigrations and customs agent, subdued Eager. Although handcuffs had been placed on him, Eager managed to slip out, McLaughlin said. The passengers then bound him with duct tape.

Eager faces a possible federal charge of interfering with a flight crew, officials said.

The Austin resident had been released from prison in Texas in July on a six-month, heroin-related charge, said Eager's older brother, John.

"While he was in prison, he found religion, as many people do," the 37-year-old Reno resident said. "He became very loud and Bible-thumping."

Brian Eager travels to Hawaii at least once a year to visit his grandmother or to work, the older brother said.

The younger Eager has struggled with severe depression and drug and alcohol addiction for more than 20 years, John Eager said. "Sounds to me like he thought he was trying to do something good, someone stopped him and he got mad," he said.

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