David Gonzalez and Doug O'Gorden

David Gonzalez (left) of Tri-Ed / Northern Video Distribution, who will be honored this morning at ISC West for his heroism aboard an aircraft, poses with SDM’s Doug O’Gorden.

One of the security industry’s own, David Gonzalez, director of business development at Tri-Ed / Northern Video Distribution, is being credited as a hero who was primarily responsible for restraining a pilot who behaved in an enraged manner during a jetBlue flight yesterday morning. Gonzalez told SDM that the real hero is the co-pilot, who landed the plane safely in Amarillo, Texas.

Gonzalez said the pilot did not appear to be drunk, nor did Gonzalez smell alcohol. Instead, he appeared enraged, Gonzalez said. “His eyes were popping out of his head,” he described.

The incident happened aboard JetBlue flight 191, which departed from New York’s JFK Airport early Tuesday morning, headed for Las Vegas. According to Gonzalez, who was seated in the second row of the aircraft, the pilot left the cockpit to use the lavatory in the front, but because it was occupied, a flight attendant directed him to the one in the back. When the pilot returned, he found he had been locked out of the cockpit and began kicking the door and saying that he needed to get back to the controls to bring the plane down to 7,000 feet. Flight attendants tried to restrain the pilot, though unsuccessfully, and that’s when Gonzalez stepped in and put a choke hold on the pilot until he eventually “passed out,” Gonzalez described.

Other passengers then also got involved in the scene, including using handcuffs and a spare aircraft seatbelt to bind the pilot’s wrists and legs, Gonzalez said, adding that they kept the pilot in this position, between the flight attendants’ station and the first row of seats, for approximately one hour until the plane landed safely in Texas.

Gonzalez, who previously worked for 16 years with the New York Department of Corrections, including at Rikers Island jail complex, will be honored this morning at ISC West.