When you’re thousands of feet in the air going hundreds of miles per hour in a tin can packed with people, it’s comforting to know there are stable professional people on the ground making sure you’re safe. Well, it was.
Paul DanDan, an air traffic controller who worked in the control tower at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, has been charged with possessing a “weapon of mass destruction.”
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 30-year-old Paul George Dandan was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction. He is currently being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail under a $45,000 bond. The FBI said they are assisting Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police with their investigation and that they don’t anticipate federal charges to be filed against Dandan at this time.
Did you see this tonight? Air traffic controller in Charlotte arrested with "weapons of mass destruction" pic.twitter.com/RJObaN8rHz
— McC5 (@MissMcC5) November 11, 2017
CMPD officers responded to a 911 call on November 3 in reference to a person being in possession of a homemade explosive device in the 300 block of Minitree Lane. CMPD bomb squad agents confirmed that the object in question was a homemade pipe bomb.
It seems that the definition used by police for “weapon of mass destruction” is a little more broad than the one used by the federal government with regard to terrorism.
Dandan claims he was given the bomb by his roommate who built it to “use against a neighbor.”
Detectives learned that 39-year-old Derrick Fells build the explosive device. He admitted to detectives that he made the bomb in order to use it against a neighbor. Investigators allege that Fells changed his mind and gave away the bomb to Dandan. According to CMPD, Charlotte Douglas Airport said Dandan, who was an air traffic controller, only had access to the offsite air traffic control tower and could not access any restricted areas of the terminal or ramp.
The Federal Aviation Administration is cooperating with the investigation and has revoked Dandan’s access to the airport, thought they haven’t said whether he is still employed by the FAA.