New Jersey man busted for threatening to shoot up JFK Airport in chilling video to estranged wife: DA

The Port Authority Police Department and the NYPD arrested a New Jersey man who allegedly threatened to shoot up JFK Airport on Tuesday morning before he was arrested without firing a shot at Resorts World in South Ozone Park.
File photo by Jeff Yapalanter

A New Jersey man is criminally charged with making terroristic threats and related crimes after he sent a chilling video to his estranged wife in which a firearm is visible as he made a menacing statement that he was going to shoot up JFK Airport, where she had just landed on Tuesday morning .

Darnell King, 39, of East 36th Street in Paterson, was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on a 12-count complaint charging him with a slew of weapons possession crimes two days after he was tracked down and taken into custody at Resorts World New York City in South Ozone Park.

“There is no telling just how many lives were saved with the apprehension of this defendant who drove to JFK Airport with two loaded handguns and threatened a mass casualty event,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

According to the charges, at approximately 8:27 p.m., King’s estranged wife was inside Terminal 5 at JFK, where she had just returned from an overseas flight. The woman received a text message and video from King, in which he said that he was en route in his car to meet her at the airport and that the recording was his “last will and testament.” King could be seen in the video saying, “I am going to wait for the plane to leave, and that is when I am going to start shooting the airport up. This is a day in history that you and everybody will always remember.”

A black and silver firearm is seen displayed on the front passenger seat of his vehicle.

At approximately 9:29 p.m., the victim received another text message and video from King in which he is seen standing at the rear of his vehicle at JFK saying: “I don’t know what makes you think that I was lying. I am here.”

Officers from the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) responded to Terminal 5 and, after a multi-agency police response, King was apprehended by PAPD and NYPD officers at Resorts World.

“Thanks to the swift response of our officers and law enforcement partners, we prevented a potentially dangerous situation at a very busy travel hub,” PAPD Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie said. “This arrest underscores the vigilance, collaboration and determination shared by law enforcement across the region toward keeping our communities safe and our critical transportation facilities secured.”

According to the charges, following the execution of a court-ordered search warrant, officers recovered a Taurus 9 mm handgun with one round in the chamber and a magazine containing eight rounds. The officers also removed a Taurus .40-caliber handgun with a round in the chamber and a magazine with three bullets. They also discovered two bullets from a cup holder and an air pistol with multiple pellets.

“These criminal charges prove, yet again, that there are too many people carrying illegal firearms and too many people willing to use them,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. “I commend and thank our law enforcement colleagues for sharing the NYPD’s steadfast commitment to ending gun violence in New York City. It is clear that our immediate, coordinated efforts this week thwarted an entirely senseless, untold tragedy.”

In addition to being charged with making terroristic threats, King was charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of criminal possession of a firearm, two counts of criminal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun in a sensitive location, menacing and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition.

Queens Criminal Court Judge Edwin I. Novillo ordered King to return to court on May 28. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

“Thanks to the swift actions of our partners at the Port Authority Police Department and the NYPD, this defendant was apprehended before he could harm anyone,” Katz said.