Tags: gyrocopter | lands | capitol | grounds | campaign | finance | protest

Man Warned of Friend's Plan to Fly Gyrocopter to US Capitol

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 06:07 PM

The 61-year-old Florida mailman who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday is no aspiring terrorist according to a friend who says he notified the Secret Service that Doug Hughes might try such a stunt.

Just hours before Hughes landed at the Capitol and was arrested, his friend and co-worker Mike Shanahan said he telephoned a Secret Service agent to tell him about the possibility that Hughes might attempt to make the flight, part of his quixotic effort to warn Congress about what he regards as campaign finance corruption.

Shanahan told the Tampa Bay Times that about one year ago Hughes mentioned his idea to deliver protest letters to members of Congress using the gyrocopter.

Not long after that, both men were visited and questioned by a Secret Service official in Florida. Then, on Wednesday morning, Shanahan said Hughes called to tell him he was in Washington and ready to take off for Capitol Hill.

After speaking to Hughes, Shanahan said he attempted to contact the Secret Service agent he and Hughes had spoken with last year. Shanahan could not reach the agent, but left a message telling him that Hughes had said he was in Washington and was planning to take off.

Shanahan said he "didn't want to get all of D.C. in an uproar and [have] it turn out he was just practicing or something or he was just pulling my leg."

After he heard that Hughes had been arrested, Shanahan expressed relief that he was still alive.

"I was scared to death they were going to kill him," Shanahan said. "My thanks goes out to whomever it was who decided not to pull the trigger."

According to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, Hughes put himself in serious danger by flying onto the Capitol grounds. He said that if the pilot had made it much closer to the Capitol that authorities were prepared to shoot the gyrocopter down.

"Had it gotten any closer to the speaker's balcony they have long guns to take it down, but they didn't," he said.

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The 61-year-old Florida mailman who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday is no aspiring terrorist according to a friend who says he notified the Secret Service that Doug Hughes might try such a stunt.
gyrocopter, lands, capitol, grounds, campaign, finance, protest, security
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2015-07-15
Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 06:07 PM
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