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Sunport closed for 3 hours after disturbance

Passengers gathered at the Sunport on Sunday while Albuquerque police officers negotiated with a suicidal man at the terminal. The airport was locked down for about three hours. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque International Sunport was closed for a few hours Sunday when a man who grounded a plane after causing a disturbance got into a standoff with police.

Albuquerque police said the man was taken into custody and will be treated at a local hospital. Police say it is unlikely that he will face charges.

The incident started around 8 a.m. when the man was taken off a departing flight after making a scene, officer Simon Drobik said.

Airport officers attempted to calm him down, but he was able to break a mug from a kiosk that he then used as a weapon to harm himself.

Police shut down the airport as crisis intervention teams negotiated with the man. He was able to get an elevated position on law enforcement by taking cover on an observation deck that is in the middle of the airport’s two concourses, Drobik said.

Drobik said that it is unlikely that any charges will be pressed and the focus will be to provide the man with help. He said the incident lasted about three hours.

“We were dedicated to trying to get him the help he needed, and right now he’s at a local hospital,” Drobik said.

Drobik said incoming flights were diverted.

Stephanie Kitts, a spokeswoman for the Sunport, said that the security checkpoint was closed from 8:10 a.m. until 11:41 a.m. Sunday. She said all departing passengers were expected to get a flight out sometime on Sunday. There were 29 departing flights and 23 arriving flights that were delayed at the Sunport on Sunday, according to flightaware.com.

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