Charlotte FAA employee Paul George Dandan, 30, was arrested along with Derrick Fells, 39, on Friday night, charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction, which was later revealed to be a homemade pipe bomb. Dandan was released from jail Saturday morning. He will appear before a judge in Charlotte on Monday afternoon.
Here are five things to know about the case:
- The FAA’s airmen database lists Dandan as a student pilot and a control-tower operator, according to the Washington Post. His student pilot license, which was issued in 2011, does not allow him to fly passenger airplanes, the Post reported.
- In 2015, Dandan was charged with and pleaded guilty to assault on a female, court records show. He was sentenced to a year of probation. Dandan was also previously arrested for domestic battery by strangulation in Dayton Beach, Florida, in January 2010, according to records surfaced by Heavy.
- Dandan was arrested on the job, according to the International Business Times, and charged with possession, acquiring and transporting a weapon of mass destruction. He did not have the bomb with him at the airport, the International Business Times reported. Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of such a weapon.
- Dandan’s LinkedIn page says he is based out of Atlanta and is an air traffic control specialist. He has worked for the FAA since March 2012, the agency told the Observer on Saturday. He had access to the airport’s air traffic control tower, but the airport said he had no access to restricted areas of the terminal or ramp, nor did he have access to any aircraft. The FAA has terminated Dandan’s access to the facility.
- The case against the two men started Nov. 3, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detectives responded to a 911 call at a local home to investigate reports that an individual was in possession of a homemade explosive device, according to NBC news. The two suspects are roommates, WCNC reported. Police said Fells originally intended to use the device against a neighbor, but then gave it Dandan. They did not say why. The explosive was not assembled when it was discovered by law enforcement agents, reported the International Business Times.