Brigadier General recalls stopping fist fight on D/FW-bound jet

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by JASON WHITELY

WFAA

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 12:19 PM

DALLAS -- U.S. Army Brigadier General Jason T. Evans said American Airlines Flight 1554 had just begun its descent into D/FW Airport on Tuesday evening when the incident began.

"I would say we were probably about 15 minutes before touching down in Dallas/Fort Worth," Brig. Gen. Evans said. "I was sitting in 12D. An aisle seat."

He was on his way to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and never expected he would be called to duty in-flight.

"I think I did what any soldier would have done," Evans said.

A few rows ahead of him, the Brigadier General said he saw a fist-fight break out between two passengers in first class.

"They were actually throwing punches at that point," he said. "It was actually a fight."

Deacon Cooper, 33, from Oklahoma, told D/FW Airport Police that Scott Prascher, 33, of McKinney, was "extremely intoxicated" and would "not stop cursing and bothering him" from across the aisle.

Cooper said "he had enough" and "backhanded Prascher in the face."

Prascher unfastened his seat belt, got out of his seat and jumped on Deacon, witnesses said. He told News 8 he was only defending himself.

"So after about the third or fourth punch, realizing this was a dangerous, unsafe situation, I got up [and approached] the individual who was the aggressor and subdued him from behind," Evans said.

He said a U.S. Air Force Airman and a civilian assisted him in stopping the fight.

But police listed Prascher as the victim.

He told News 8 he only had one drink on the flight. Prascher said he witnessed Cooper drinking beer, though that is not stated in the police report.

Still, police charged Prascher with Public Intoxication.

"Most of the time, I was just trying to talk to him and settle him down, because he was pretty angry at the whole thing because he had gotten the worst of the punches that were thrown," Evans said.

The flight crew moved Cooper to the back of the aircraft as Evans stood over Prascher until the jet reached the gate and police boarded the plane.

Prascher said he thinks D/FW Airport Police mishandled the incident, since officers didn’t charge Cooper with striking him first. The McKinney man said he is meeting with an attorney on Monday.

Cooper did not return a voicemail or e-mail on Friday.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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