Authorities Looking for Machete Wielding Man’s Motive

Authorities were looking for clues to a motive in a bizarre attack against agents from TSA by a man wielding a machete and carrying a can of wasp spray at the international airport in New Orleans.

The man, Richard White, who was 62, died at a nearby hospital after undergoing surgery for gunshots according to local law enforcement.

A spokesperson for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office said White has refused some medical care due to being a Jehovah’s Witness. The spokesperson added that a mental illness component was involved as well.

Authorities searched through a bag that was dropped by the suspect in the in the security area. Inside they found a number of Molotov cocktails. While searching the man’s abandoned car they found smoke bombs as well as chemical tanks, said law enforcement.

What the man had intended to do with those tanks and what triggered him to attack the TSA agents remains a mystery, said authorities. White entered the pre-line for TSA just before 8:00 p.m. on Friday. He was challenged by an agent who had been checking the boarding passes for scanning. White sprayed the wasp spray in the agent’s face and continued past that checkpoint.

White was then confronted by two additional TSA agents. He sprayed a male agent with the same wasp spray prior to pulling his machete from his waistband. He swung the machete at the male agent as well as a female one.

So he could defend himself, the male agent grabbed a nearby piece of luggage, said authorities. White then chased the agent through the area of the metal detector before he was shot three times. He was hit in the face, chest and leg by Lt. Heather Sylve from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office.

One bullet from Sylve’s weapon also struck the female agent who had being fleeing from White. She suffered an injury that was not life threatening, said authorities.

It was unknown if he was going to board a plane. Police said White had only a few minor arrests on his record.

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