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On-The-Run Fugitive Halts Flights at LaGuardia Airport as FBI Orders Ground Stop to Search For Suspect

On-The-Run Fugitive Halts Flights at LaGuardia Airport as FBI Orders Ground Stop to Search For Suspect

An on-the-run fugitive grounded flights at LaGuardia International Airport in Queens for several hours on Wednesday evening after the FBI ordered a ground stop on all departing flights so that they could search for the suspect.

Federal law enforcement officials have remained tight-lipped on what exactly went down at LaGuardia on Wednesday night but the eagle-eyed Twitter user and aviation source JonNYC noticed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had imposed a so-called ‘ground stop’ on all departing flights at the airport.

The FAA initially noted that the reason for the ground stop was because the FBI had lost track of a fugitive at the airport and the suspect was “on the loose in the airport”.

With the possibility that the fugitive could try to sneak onto a departing flight, law enforcement ordered a long line of flights waiting to depart to remain on the ground so that agents could track the suspect.

JonNYC later added a working theory that the fugitive wasn’t exactly lost by agents in LaGuardia but that their cellphone ‘pinged’ a location at or near to the airport. This is a process known as triangulation in which law enforcement attempt to pinpoint the location of a suspect by measuring the distance of signals sent from their cellphone and three cellphone towers in a triangle shape.

Triangulation has improved in recent years but can be unreliable and wouldn’t ordinarily result in law enforcement taking such a drastic measure as grounding flights.

In either case, neither the FBI nor local enforcement has publicly commented on last night’s ground stop and LaGuardia has also remained tight-lipped on Wednesday night’s delays.

Sports broadcaster Kayla Jaxton was on one of the delayed flights affected by the ground stop. In a tweet, Kayla said that passengers on an already delayed flight were told they would be waiting even longer because “there’s a criminal on the loose at LGA so until the FBI catches them, all flights are shut down”.

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