ORLANDO, Fla. —
A former Marine who attempted “suicide by cop” during a nearly three-hour standoff with police at the Orlando International Airport in May has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Michael Wayne Pettigrew accepted a plea agreement on Aug. 16 and was sentenced to jail for his role in the May 30 standoff.
Pettigrew will remain with Orange County Corrections until next March, having served 84 days in jail thus far since his arrest.
He offered a no contest plea to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer, and carrying a concealed weapon. The judge withheld adjudication, which means Pettigrew was not formally convicted of the offenses.
The incident, which police said involved Pettigrew brandishing a “simulated gun” caused the temporary shutdown of one of the first-floor ground transportation areas, near the rental car counters.
When Orlando police confronted Pettigrew, the arrest affidavit said he assumed the “shooting stance” and pointed what appeared to be a gun at Officer Charles Wadley. In response, Wadley raised his AR 15 but saw a “large crowd of passengers running everywhere” and decided not fire.
Orlando police Chief John Mina praised Wadley’s decision, saying “Every time we do firearms training we make sure there’s nothing in the background… innocent people and unfortunately that’s a risk we have to take.”
Pettigrew was told to drop the gun but he began yelling at the officers to kill him and pointed his gun at himself. That’s when the police department’s trained negotiators began the process of trying to calm him.
Lt. Jim Young oversees that team and told WESH 2 News, “It was clear that he wanted us to end his life, for police to end his life and we avoided that and focused on some things of his life… getting the help he needs.”
Young said they were able to get Pettigrew to sit on the ground and place the gun between his legs. For almost two hours, they negotiated, promising to get him the mental health help he needed. Eventually Pettigrew complied and was handcuffed.
Pettigrew is a former Marine who served between Aug. 2009 and June 2012 when he received a bad conduct discharge, after being found guilty of assaulting another Marine at a court martial.
Eryka Washington, a spokeswoman for Circuit Nine State Attorney Aramis Ayala told WESH 2 News, “This resolution (plea arrangement) was agreed upon after consultation with Officer Wadley and in consideration of the Defendant’s mental health issues and lack of a civilian criminal history.”