White House backs marshals' reaction

U.S. air marshals who shot and killed an American Airlines passenger acted "consistent with their training" and an investigation will determine if any changes are needed in operating procedures, the White House said on Thursday.

Florida resident Rigoberto Alpizar, 44, was killed on Wednesday in Miami as he ran from an aircraft. Officials said he claimed to have a bomb in his backpack. Witnesses said the man might have been mentally ill.

"I don't think anyone wants to see it come to a situation like this, but these marshals appear to have acted in a way that is consistent with the extensive training that they have received," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

He said the Department of Homeland Security was working with the FBI and police officials in Miami to determine what happened.

"Any time there's an investigation like this you learn lessons and then you apply those to future training and protocols. But it appears that the protocols that were in place were followed in this situation," McClellan said.

The incident at Miami International Airport was the first time an airplane passenger was shot by air marshals since the U.S. marshals program was introduced, Reuters reports.


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