MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The father of the 9-year-old boy who stowed away on a flight to Las Vegas is now speaking out, as his son is reportedly on his way back to Minnesota.
The father did not want his name or face revealed, because his son is a minor, and according to a CNN source, the boy was being returned “because the jurisdiction where the boy is from is where issues will be addressed.”
“My son is not a terrorist — he’s a 9-year-old,” the father said. “Misunderstood, but a very intelligent young man.”
In a WCCO exclusive, the father said he and his fiancé are not bad parents, and that they’ve been seeking help for their son’s behavior problems for years, behavior problems that have him suspended from school.
With tears in his eyes, the father said he loves his son and wants him home, calling his child a typical 9-year-old who just happens to be a “charmer.”
But back on Oct. 1, the boy was accused of jumping into a delivery truck with automatic transmission in Minneapolis. The 9-year-old allegedly drove the 30-foot refrigerated truck through downtown Minneapolis and onto southbound I-35, getting off near 50th street and driving west into Edina.
The boy made it to 56th and Xerxes, where he apparently crashed into a number of parked cars and two trees before colliding with an Edina squad car.
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“I just thank the Lord nobody got hurt and he didn’t get hurt,” the father said. “But what the officer told me is they were about to taze him or shoot him until they found out he was a 9 year old.”
As for the child’s trans-America flight, it was Wednesday last week when he left his north Minneapolis neighborhood for the airport.
“My son had took the trash out and hasn’t been back to the house,” the father said.
He said he had no idea his son would ride the light rail to the airport and somehow get past security and board a plane for Las Vegas.
“We’re not bad parents,” the father said. “We didn’t think nothing of it. We thought he was at a friend’s house.”
The dad said staying at a friend’s house is typical for his son. They didn’t become concerned until Thursday morning when they called police to report the child missing. They then learned he was in Las Vegas.
“I don’t understand,” the dad said. “You got so much security check at these airports, how can you let a 9-year-old sneak past security and get on a plane without anyone stopping him, questioning him, or anything.”
The father admits his son has had issues in the past.
“I don’t have an angel,” he said. “To me, he’s got a behavioral problem.”
He said they have been asking numerous agencies for help since his son was 5 and no one has stepped up to help them. On Tuesday, he is finally getting help from VJ Smith and Mad Dads.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said. “I love my son. I’m not giving up on my son.”