An airline passenger intent on making a new home in Charlotte ended up being arrested as soon as he stepped off the plane, after he got drunk and attacked his girlfriend with barrage of slaps and punches, say federal investigators.
Brandon David Bowlin, 33, who was listed as being from Gastonia, is charged with assault within the special aircraft jurisdiction, officials said.
Bowlin is accused of attacking his girlfriend while the two were on a Nov. 11 American Airlines flight to Charlotte from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The two were in the process of relocating to Charlotte from St. Thomas, where they had lived since April, said an affidavit.
The victim, who was identified only as J.J., told authorities Bowlin began verbally abusing her after he drank shots of vodka and Red Bull at the St. Thomas airport. “He told her to shut up, called her a whore and threatened to ‘slap her up’ to teach her a lesson” says an affidavit.
Bowlin continued yelling random remarks after the two boarded the plane, officials said, and he became more aggressive when a nearby passenger told him to “put a cork in it.”
“Bowlin started hitting and squeezing J.J.’s arms, thighs with his fists and with the palms of his hands. Bowlin slapped J.J. in the face with the back of his hand,” says the affidavit, noting the slap to the face broke the woman’s lip.
When the abuse became “unbearable” for J.J., she reportedly tried to leave her seat and Bowlin blocked her way, officials said. A flight attendant directed the victim to sit next the Federal Air Marshal on board the flight, putting a stop to the violence.
After the plane landed in Charlotte, Bowlin waived his right to an attorney and told investigators the abuse never occurred and the two were “just playing.” He also suggested the victim had possibly “burst her own lip.”
The victim told investigators that Bowlin is an Army veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is known to become paranoid when intoxicated. He takes medication for PTSD, said the affidavit.
In August, federal officials arrested and charged another man on a Charlotte-bound flight who exposed himself during a sex act. The suspect was a man from Louisiana.