Nguyen, Accused of Forcing Emergency Landing of Flight 2542, Gets Competency Hearing

LUBBOCK, TX - A federal judge in Lubbock last week ordered a competency hearing for Jerry Ba Nguyen, 24, of Las Vegas.  The hearing was set for January 26 at 10:00 a.m. 

Nguyen was accused of interfering with a flight crew on September 22 – forcing American Airlines flight 2542 to make an emergency landing in Lubbock. 

Official records said that during the flight from Ontario, California, to Dallas/Fort Worth, Nguyen made suicidal statements. 

“Nguyen walked to the front of the aircraft and began banging on and kicking the cockpit door,” a federal press release said in September.  “He was subdued by passengers at the request of the flight crew and then restrained with flex cuffs provided by the flight attendants.”

In October, his defense attorney requested a psychological examination of Nguyen which was approved.

“Mr. Nguyen exhibits erratic behavior, inability to control his thoughts, and paranoia. Mr. Nguyen also reports suicidal thoughts, along with visual and auditory hallucinations,” the request said.  “A psychological evaluation is requested for Mr. Nguyen, as it is clear that competency and insanity are at issue in this case.”

A judge previously ordered Nguyen to remain in federal custody.  If convicted, he would face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.


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