By Amy Cutler
PHOENIX (KPHO) — A man has been charged with the brutal attack of a flight attendant at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Police said it happened on the Sky Train platform in Terminal 4 Friday around 2:15 a.m. They’re investigating it as a hate crime.
Brandon Smith, 32, is facing one count of assault and one count of aggravated assault in connection with the incident. Court documents show Smith came up from behind, kicking the woman and then punching her in the face. She was knocked to the ground, and he kept kicking her, police said. She fought back, and that’s when he threw a metal sign and hand sanitizer stand at her. He did this while yelling “go back to your own (expletive) country,” according to court documents.
“I’m very surprised to hear that and it’s very alarming,” Patti Grandpre said. Grandpre works with various companies organizing work trips to the Valley.
Court documents show a second woman intervened, trying to stop the Sky Train from leaving by blocking the door. Police responded. “You don’t want to see that, with any of our employees. It’s troubling,” John Westfall, who works at the airport, said.
Court documents show Smith is homeless and was likely drunk at the time. He told police he punched the victims because they were stealing his identity and money, detectives said. They added the attack was “unprovoked” and their bias crimes unit is investigating. “I never thought something would happen like that, you know, racial. Everybody comes through here,” a flight attendant who declined to give his name said. Police said the flight attendant suffered only minor injuries.
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