Soldier Stabbed on Airplane

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In an incident just coming to light, a contractor who works in Afghanistan was charged with aggravated assault against a soldier on a plane last month at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

Allegedly Robert Paterson, 38, stabbed the soldier, Nicholas Shipley, 20, in the neck, reports ABC News affiliate KTRK. The men were on an Express Jet flight to Savannah, Ga. when a fight began on the plane while it was on the tarmac. After a flight attendant tried to calm the men down, police say Paterson stabbed Shipley.

"That isn't really what happened, but I don't really think I can say anything one way or the other to be honest with you," Paterson says in a phone interview to the news station from his home in South Carolina. "I don't want to make my situation worse."

According to eyewitnesses, Paterson had a window punch in his hands, which are typically used by police and emergency personnel to break glass and rescue someone from a bad car accident. Window punches aren't on the list of prohibited travel items.

"You can only imagine, if it's gonna shatter the glass, it may hurt somebody, as well," says Rick Fernandez, a 10-year veteran of the Pearland police force. "On the inside of the object, there is a needle, or a punch, and as this is applied up against the glass and pressed forward toward the glass, the punch strikes the glass and retracts back inside."

A TSA spokesperson wouldn't comment on the case or on how the tool got through security.

The soldier is back on duty in Fort Stewart, Ga. Paterson is free after posting bail. His attorney, Neal Davis, says they plan to take his case to trial and calls the incident a misunderstanding.

Photo, Dave Heuts, flickr
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