Michigan man plans to steal helicopter for hospital attack to free COVID-19 patients, police say

Jesse McFadden taken into custody

Jesse Theodore McFadden (WDIV)

BAY CITY, Mich. – A Michigan man devised a plan to steal a helicopter from the Coast Guard in order to attack a police station and shooting up a hospital to disrupt the power and free the coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, authorities said.

Jesse Theodore McFadden, 70, is accused of calling Arenac County dispatchers around 8 a.m. Sunday to say he was on his way to the United States Coast Guard Station in Bay City, Michigan, to steal a helicopter, according to officials.

Plan to free COVID-19 patients

McFadden told dispatchers the helicopter would further his plan to attack a police station and shoot up a hospital, court records show.

He wanted to disrupt the power to the hospital, unlock the doors and release patients under COVID-19 quarantine, officials said.

McFadden told authorities he was armed with a machine gun, police said.

Dispatchers said they called police and the Coast Guard Station Saginaw River about the threat. They also revealed McFadden’s criminal history of brandishing weapons and resisting police, court records say.

Denied Coast Guard entry

Coast Guard workers at the Saginaw River station in Essexville said McFadden arrived around 10:30 a.m. in a black Ford open-bed pickup truck registered to another person.

He tried to get into the station using the gate keypad, officials said. After he failed to get in several times, he called the station communications center and demanded access, according to authorities.

His request was denied, so McFadden threatened to ram the gate open with his truck, court records show.

He left at 10:39 a.m. before Essexville police officers arrived, officials said.

Gas station arrest

Michigan State Police troopers found the pickup truck around 11:15 a.m. at a gas station in Essexville, according to court documents.

The truck was running but unoccupied with the driver’s door open, officials said.

When McFadden walked out of the gas station, state troopers spoke to him while a Hampton Township officer searched the pickup, authorities said.

A Hampton Township officer found a Mossberg Model 500A 12-gauge shotgun on the passenger seat of the truck, officials said. It was loaded with five shells, court records show.

McFadden saw that the officer had seized the shotgun and tried to hit one of the MSP troopers, officials said.

He also disobeyed verbal commands and resisted attempts to place him under arrest, troopers said.

Officers said they used a Taser on McFadden and arrested him. He was taken into custody by Hampton Township police.

McFadden charged

McFadden was convicted of fourth-degree fleeing and eluding on June 15, 2011 -- a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, officials said.

Authorities confirmed the shotgun was manufactured outside of Michigan.

The criminal complaint concludes McFadden knowing he had been convicted of a felony offense punishable by a prison sentence of longer than one year, possessed a firearm in violation of the law.

Officials are seeking a charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.