Man jailed after threatening to blow up airport

PASCO -- A 24-year-old Prosser man caused a commotion on the road in front of the Tri-Cities Airport early Friday, pulling a knife on a passing motorist and reportedly threatening to blow up the airport, authorities said.

Horacio E. Mendoza-Alvarado was first spotted by a Franklin County sheriff's deputy at 5:03 a.m. just outside the airport at 20th Avenue and Argent Boulevard, court documents said.

The deputy said he was going north on 20th Avenue when he saw a man, later identified as Mendoza-Alvarado, dancing across the crosswalk against a red light.

The deputy turned left onto Argent and watched Mendoza-Alvarado as a truck leaving the airport drove across Argent then stopped on 20th Avenue.

When Mendoza-Alvarado apparently started running toward the truck, the deputy turned around to see what was going on.

As he got closer, he saw Mendoza-Alvarado run back toward the airport while the truck driver, Teddy Carner, 77, of Kennewick, tried to flag him down.

The deputy said Mendoza-Alvarado lay down in the grass and it appeared he was trying to hide, documents said.

When the deputy asked why he was going to the airport, Mendoza-Alvarado apparently said "'cause I'm going to blow it up," then made some racial slurs about the pilots, documents said.

The deputy asked what he was going to use and Mendoza-Alvarado replied "whatever I have or whatever I can get, anyway it doesn't matter how," documents said.

As Mendoza-Alvarado was being handcuffed, he reportedly yelled slurs at Carner and started swearing at the deputy.

Carner said he saw Mendoza-Alvarado hit the electrical box on a power pole at the intersection with a big stick or club, causing sparks, documents said.

He said he honked to get the suspect to stop and that's when Mendoza-Alvarado came up and hit his truck, causing a dent.

Mendoza-Alvarado then pulled out a knife and threatened Carner, documents said.

Carner, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled his handgun and held it up. He told deputies that he was scared, and said if Mendoza-Alvarado had broken the window, he would have shot him, documents said.

Mendoza-Alvarado took off running just as the deputy arrived.

The deputy said Mendoza-Alvarado obviously was under the influence of drugs and kept mumbling something about having beaten up four people and pulling a knife on two others, documents said.

A knife was found nearby in the grass, documents said.

Mendoza-Alvarado made his first appearance in Franklin County Superior Court about eight hours later Friday. He was ordered held in the Franklin County jail on investigation of second-degree assault, first-degree malicious mischief and third-degree malicious mischief.

His bail was set at $25,000.