Naperville man charged in FAA facility fire that caused ground stop at Chicago airports

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36-year-old Brian Howard of Naperville has been charged in connection with a fire set at an FAA air traffic control center in Aurora.

According to the FBI, Howard has been charged with one count of Destruction of Aircraft or Aircraft Facilities, a felony offense.

According to official criminal complaint, Howard allegedly entered the Federal Aviation Administration Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora just after 5 a.m. “dragging a black hard-sided roller board suit case.”  The complaint alleges Howard posted a message on Facebook around 5:30 which contained a reference to the facility and was subsequently forwarded to law enforcement authorities.

Someone at the facility called 911 around 5:45 a.m. That person had discovered a “trail of blood” in the basement that led to Howard.

Aurora investigators believe the suspect deliberately set a fire, possibly using accelerants, before cutting or stabbing himself.

Howard remains in the hospital with injuries sustained during the incident.

No court date has been set.

As a result of the fire and disruption at the facility, a ground stop was issued at O'Hare and Midway. Thousands of flights were delayed and cancelled.

The investigation continues.




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