Plane Thief Wanted Air Force to Shoot Him Down

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2009 11:40 AM CDT
The fighter jets following the Cessna didn't fire because they determined the plane didn't have terrorist intentions.   (US Air Force)
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(Newser) – The plane thief who led US fighter jets on a chase across six states yesterday did so as part of a bizarre suicide attempt, according to the Missouri trooper who arrested him. Yavuz Berke was hoping that if he flew the Cessna stolen in Canada into the US he’d be shot down and killed, Justin Watson said today on ABC’s Good Morning America.

But the military decided early that the Turkish-born 31-year-old wasn’t planning a terrorist attack, and didn’t fire. Eventually, Berke landed the plane on a highway and walked to a convenience store. The clerk called the police, and Berke was soon found drinking Gatorade. “He actually seemed fairly happy that it came to a good end,” Watson said. “He didn’t seem to be down in spirits or anything.”