Richard White, 63, a Jehovah’s Witness, has been identified by authorities as the man who wielded a machete on Friday night (March 20, 2015) at Louis Armstrong, New Orleans International Airport.
Also armed with insect spray during the attack, White charged past Transportation Safety Administration agents in Concourse B, spraying insecticide into their eyes and brandishing a machete just before 8 pm local time.
TSA Officer, JPSO Lt. Heather Slyve, who was stationed at the security checkpoint, opened fire, apparently striking White three times but also shooting a female TSA agent in the arm and grazing a male traveler.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told reporters White was a taxi driver and recently received a chauffeur’s license. He had a minimal criminal history — “some ‘disturbing the peace’ charges and a couple of traffic attachments.”
A former neighbor, Donna Jackson, told The Times Picayune that White “was a deeply religious man,” describing him as “a Jehovah’s Witness who shunned Western medicine.” White apparently encouraged her to use herbal remedies to treat her diabetes.
Jackson said the Whites attend the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses near the airport at 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd in Kenner.
After the incident White was transported to the hospital and refused “certain types of medical care” according to Sheriff Newell Normand. He died at 4.02pm local time on Saturday March 21st, 2015.
The Sheriff confirmed that, during the attack, White dropped a lighter and a bag of six glass Mason jars with cloth wicks soaked in gasoline.
Smoke bombs and tanks of highly-flammable acetylene, refrigeration gas Freon and oxygen were discovered in the trunk of his car, the Sheriff said.
His motives and reasons for being at the airport are unknown. His family are said to be co-operating with law enforcement and have indicated that White was known to experience mental health issues.
- NBC: Suspect in Machete Attack at New Orleans Airport Has Died
- NBC: Authorities Try to Determine New Orleans Airport Machete Attacker’s Motive
- ABC: Authorities Search for Motive in Machete-Wielding Airport Attack
- Breitbart: Louisiana Airport Attacker Was Jehovah’s Witness, Had Molotov Cocktails
- Jehovah’s Witness Reporter article