The authorities have established Richard Russell, 29, as the airline employee who stole a plane Friday night and crashed on a small island. He is presumed dead.
The family of a man who authorities say stole a Horizon Air turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport and crashed on an island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, said news of the incident was a “complete shock for them.
Statement from Russell’s family: “… Beebo was a warm, compassionate man. It is impossible to include in a press release. He was a faithful husband and a loving son and a good friend. …This is a complete shock to us.” https://t.co/vQYcZMa0Y0
— Anchorage Daily News (@adndotcom) on August 12, 2018
Richard Russell, 29, who is presumed dead, is a ground-service agent for Horizon.
In a written statement to the media on Saturday, Russell’s family described him as a loyal husband, loving son and a good friend who does not mean to harm anyone.
“This is a complete shock to us,” the statement read. “We are affected by these events, and Jesus is really the only one who this family together and now”.
“This is a complete shock to us. We are devastated by these events, and Jesus is really the only one who this family together and now”.
– Statement from the family of Richard Russell
They did not take questions from journalists.
According to his social media accounts, Russell went by the nickname “Beebo.” He said that he was from Wasilla, Alaska, and lived in Sumner, Wash., and married in 2012.
Russell reportedly was a star athlete at Wasilla High School, where he earned a reputation for outgoing and friendly.
Gary Howell, a Wasilla High track and field coach, said he remembered Russell as a funny guy who also had a smile and a joke and was a great team player.
“Definitely the kind of kid you want on your team,” Howell told the Anchorage Daily News. “The boy knows I would not do it.”
Shawn Hayes, Vice irving described Russell as respect and a good boy.
“[N]o signs of what happened, that’s for sure,” Hayes said.
The authorities said that they do not know why Russell took the plane, but was heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he was “just a broken man.”
In the direction of midnight on Friday, the investigation was transferred to the FBI, which worked with the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies, the Seattle Times reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.