The incident—which took place at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix—unfolded as Southwest Flight 4236 landed from Colorado Springs. It’s unclear how the passenger opened an aircraft door, according to the airline. The flight eventually “continued to its designated gate,” the airline said.
“Initial reports indicate that while the flight was taxiing to the gate, a Customer onboard exited the aircraft via a rear galley door,” Southwest spokesperson Dan Landson said, per CNN. “The flight’s Captain stopped the aircraft and notified Air Traffic Control (ATC).”
Ramirez’s mother, Theresa Padilla, said he was heading home in fear for his life after a tiling job.
“We were on the phone with him for seven hours. He was paranoid saying someone’s going to get me. Someone’s going to kill me,” Emily Luevano, Ramirez’s sister-in-law, said, per ABC News. His family has a history of mental illness, they said.
After landing on the tarmac, Ramirez locked himself in a local fire station’s dormitory rooms.
“After a few minutes, firefighters were able to get the adult male to unlock the door where he was then evaluated, treated and transported to a local hospital for a lower extremity injury,” Phoenix Fire Department Captain Todd Keller said.
Family members have started a GoFundMe to help bring Ramirez home to California.
“Don’t judge them because you don’t know,” Padilla said of her son. “You don’t live in their shoes. You don’t know what they go through on a daily basis.”
Ramirez is currently in jail on suspicion of two counts of felony trespassing.