Chicago-area air traffic worker’s alleged sabotage still disrupting flights

Posted at 2:01 PM, Sep 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-27 14:01:55-04

CHICAGO, IL. (CNN)– The effects of an employee’s attempted suicide and alleged sabotage of the Illinois air traffic control center where he worked stretched into a second day.

Airlines canceled more than 600 flights scheduled to either take off or land at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Saturday morning, and about two dozen more at the city’s Midway Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Passengers are also warned to expect delays throughout the day.

The disruption stems from a Friday morning fire at the FAA Chicago En Route Center in nearby Aurora, a critical air traffic control center.

Police say that blaze was set intentionally by Brian Howard, a contract employee at the facility, before he apparently attempted to kill himself.

An FBI affidavit says that a first responder saw some feet sticking out from under a table and found a shirtless Howard “in the process of actively slicing his throat with another knife.”

He told paramedics to “leave me alone,” the affidavit said.

Howard, 36, survived and was taken to an area hospital. His condition was not available Saturday.

He’s charged with one count of destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities, a felony that could land him a 20-year prison sentence.

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