A 32-year-old Manhattan man who caused thousands of travelers to be delayed after he allegedly brought a fake bomb to LaGuardia Airport earlier this month has been found unfit to stand trial and ordered placed in a state psychiatric facility, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Scott McGann of Manhattan had been indicted earlier this month on charges of placing a fake explosive device in a mass transportation facility and making terrorist threats, Brown said.
McGann was being held at Bellevue Hospital’s prison ward, but court-appointed psychologists from Brooklyn’s Kings County Hospital Center determined Tuesday he lacked the capacity to understand the proceedings against him and found him incompetent to take part in a trial, Brown said.
“The defendant is clearly a very troubled young man,” Brown said. “Under the circumstances, the court’s decision is the right one for all concerned.”
Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald ruled this week that McGann should be remanded to a state psychiatric facility, the DA said. The defendant will be turned over to the state’s Mental Health Commissioner for one year or until he regains competency, but the state can seek additional retention for McGann if deemed necessary, he said.
On Aug. 1, McGann arrived at a checkpoint at LaGuardia’s Terminal B around 4:50 a.m., to board a United Airlines flight to Chicago with a connecting flight to Oakland. He was wearing a backpack and sweating profusely when a security officer asked him for identification information, the DA said.
The officer noticed a suspicious package attached to the bottom of his backpack and McGann reached for what appeared to be a trigger device with a red button attached to a wire, which led to the package, the DA said.
He then is alleged to have repeatedly pressed the red button until a Port Authority officer removed the device, the DA said. Police determined that the device could have been used in the construction of an actual explosive device, but did not contain any explosives, he said.
The incident caused the airport to evacuate its central terminal and cancel all flights for several hours, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community News Group
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