Shocking security lapses let man walk through TSA checkpoint unnoticed and board an international flight without a ticket to stop his girlfriend from leaving
A man who boarded a flight Sunday at D/FW Airport without a boarding pass or ID told police he “just walked” past TSA
According to the police report just released by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport officials, “some bad choices” resulted in 25-year-old Damarias Cockerham’s bypassing Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and boarding an American Airlines flight to Guatemala without a ticket Sunday afternoon.
And, the report says, TSA agents did nothing to stop him.
The Louisiana-born insurance agent from Garland was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal trespassing. But the report makes it very clear how he managed to get on the plane sans a photo ID or a ticket: He simply walked through a Terminal D checkpoint “without being stopped by a TSA agent.”
He then ran onto a American Airlines flight bound for Guatemala City and refused to get off until it became clear the flight wouldn’t be leaving with him on board.
The police report says that by the time officers arrived at Terminal D’s Gate 17, Cockerham was walking away. At that point he was detained, and the questioning began. But it wasn’t easy, according to the police report, which says Cockerham “began crying and would not cooperate or answer any of our questions.”
According to the report, when an officer asked Cockerham how he managed to get on the plane without an ID or a ticket, he simply responded, “I walked.”
The D/FW Airport checkpoint Damarias Cockerham got through without an ID or a ticket Sunday
Officials in the airport’s master control room, where cameras are monitored, confirmed that Cockerham was never stopped despite signs “indicating that entry to the sterile area of the terminal is restricted to ticketed passengers with valid identification.”
When asked why he was trying to go to Guatemala, Cockerham told officers “he didn’t want his girlfriend going down there and being with the wrong guy.” When asked how he knew she was on the flight, Cockerham said he “looked at the board.”
One of the officers asked Cockerham how he got to the airport. The 25-year-old said he drove and left his car parked along the curb. Officers took his keys and got a K9 unit to search the vehicle “as a precautionary measure due to Cockerham’s demeanor and reluctance to answer questions.” The dog “exhibited a positive response for the presence of energetic materials.”
In the report, an officer says he asked Cockerham if there was anything dangerous in the car. At that point, says the report, “He stated he made some bad choices.” Officers formed a perimeter around the car, but a search ultimately failed to turn up anything considered dangerous; that is, they didn’t find explosives. Cockerham was taken to the airport jail, and his car was towed.
We have asked TSA for a response to the report and will update if we receive one. In a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News Monday, TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon said the agency is “reviewing the incident and is working closely with the airport, local law enforcement and stakeholders to ensure that all of our checkpoints at DFW reflect optimal security configurations.”
Harmon also said TSA immediately “made adjustments” to the DFW screening area and added more barriers. She said the agency “is working to identify other long-term solutions that may require physical adjustments to the area.”