Gay-bashing ex-con arrested by air marshals

BY admin

December 09 2003 12:00 AM ET

A former prison inmate, who served time for a number of gay bashings in Seattle, charged toward the cockpit on a Honolulu-to-Seattle flight on Thursday and was subdued by undercover air marshals who were on board to monitor him, officials said. The incident involved 29-year-old Reno U. Maiava, a former member of a street gang who was sentenced for the Veterans Day, 1990, beatings of three men. One of them, John Fasolo, suffered near-fatal head injuries. The victims and witnesses said Maiava, along with Joseph Tomasi and Taumaoe Mose, singled out same-sex couples. Prosecutors said the men targeted people "who they perceived to be gay." The beatings, along with similar incidents around the same time, prompted police to beef up their presence on Capitol Hill and spurred the formation of the "Q Patrol," a neighborhood volunteer street-safety group. Maiava was released from the Washington State Department of Corrections' Special Needs Unit in May 2001.

Thursday's altercation occurred about 2-1/2 hours into Northwest Airlines Flight 924, according to Dave Adams, spokesman for the federal air marshal service. Maiava, who is on active supervision, was disruptive before the flight and got up during it, knocking into an elderly woman, Adams said. He also screamed "Where's my shirt?" at one point, then charged toward the cockpit shouting that he wanted to see the captain, the spokesman said. Adams said a federal air marshal identified himself and told the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Maiava to put his hands behind his head. He refused, and the other two marshals then identified themselves and, after a brief altercation, handcuffed him, Adams said. The passengers applauded the arrest when the flight landed, air marshal Edward G. Kinateder wrote in charging papers.

Maiava used obscenities in addressing federal officials during his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday. His hands and feet were shackled and he was accompanied by about 10 U.S. marshals, said Lawrence Lincoln, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. "It was quite a spectacle," Lincoln said. He did not enter a plea to a charge of interfering with a flight crew. A detention hearing was set for next Thursday. Maiava was being monitored and will have to get permission to leave the state of Washington, said Veltry Johnson, a corrections department spokesman.

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