What Leominster, Massachusetts’ Francisco Severo Torres did aboard United Airlines flight from Los Angeles, California to Boston

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, of Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States was a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles, California, USA to Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts on March 5, 2023. During the flight attendants’ safety briefing prior to takeoff, he asked a fellow passenger where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located.

Around 45 minutes prior to landing, the flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a starboard side door located between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft was disarmed. Torres allegedly tried to open the emergency exit door.

When a flight attendant confronted Torres about tampering with the door, he allegedly asked if there were cameras showing that he had done so. The flight attendant told the captain that Torres posed a threat to the aircraft so the captain needed to land the aircraft as soon as possible.  

Francisco Severo Torres (©Leominster Police Department)
Francisco Severo Torres (©Leominster Police Department)

Torres left his seat and went to the bathroom where he broke a spoon in half. He then approached the starboard side door where two flight attendants were standing in the aisle and allegedly thrust towards one of them in a stabbing motion with the broken metal spoon.

The flight attendant was hit on the neck area three times. According to Torres, he believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him.

Other passengers tackled Torres, who was then restrained with the help of flight crew. He was arrested as soon as the aircraft arrived at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston.


On March 6, 2023, Torres made an initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Dein. The Leominster resident was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, which provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

United Airlines has banned Torres from flying on future flights. He was detained pending a hearing set for March 9, 2023.

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