Florida resident Kyriakos “Dom” Doukas, the passenger allegedly assaulted by Joseph Michael Sharkey, 36, of Reston, en route from Reagan National to Jacksonville, said Sharkey put him in a headlock about 2o minutes before they were to land in Jacksonville.
According to a criminal complaint, Sharkey, who was served four drinks during the flight, verbally assaulted Doukas and place him in a headlock; assaulted two flight attendants; and tried to open the cabin door while the plane was in flight.
Sharkey was charged by federal authorities with assault or intimidation of a flight crew. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
According to the complaint, after Sharkey’s scuffle with Doukas:
Sharkey got up from the seat and told the flight attendant that he was going to leave the aircraft; Sharkey had also told [flight attendant Robert] Studebaker he was a Federal Air Marshal and that the flight crew was under investigation; Sharkey attempted to walk to an exit door; Sharkey pushed flight attendant Studebaker who attempted to stop Sharkey; at some point Sharkey struck Studebaker in the groin with his knee; then two flight attendants used volunteers aboard Flight 715 to subdue Sharkey and place him in flex cuffs.
Doukas told News4Jax he was told by another passenger that Sharkey was “hammered before boarding” and that “as passengers waited for the FBI another flight attendant told him that he served Sharkey four rum and cokes during the flight.”
Doukas has asked Jet Blue to implement an internal policy of one alcoholic beverage per legal passenger per hour of a flight, the TV station reported.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville said Joseph Michael Sharkey, 36, was a passenger on Jet Blue Flight 715 when he verbally assaulted another passenger and then placed that passenger in a headlock.
He also tried to open the plane door in flight, according to a criminal complaint.
“When ordered by a flight attendant to return to his seat, Sharkey at first complied but then assaulted the flight attendant and made an effort exit the airplane through an exit door,” according to the federal criminal complaint.
“Sharkey was stopped by another flight attendant, but then fought with him, kneeing him in the groin. The flight attendants enlisted the help of volunteers and subdued Sharkey, placing him in flex cuffs for the remainder of the flight. “
When the flight landed safely in Jacksonville, Sharkey was removed from the flight by airport police.
Sharkey is being held in Jacksonville and will have a formal hearing on Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, Sharkey had four alcoholic drinks during the flight.
Sharkey has been in similar trouble before. In 2012, when he was a resident of Woodbridge, he was accused of stealing a truck through a security fence there while under the influence of alcohol, according to news reports.
In that incident, he was charged with burglary, grand larceny auto, destruction of property, driving under the influence of alcohol (his third offense in 10 years), refusal to submit to a breath test and driving on a revoked license.
Jet Blue plane/file photo