A senior sheriff's deputy from San Francisco, traveling with his family, caught and handcuffed a man Wednesday night who's now charged with battery against an airline employee at Chicago's Midway Airport.
San Francisco Sr. Deputy Mazen Barbari was in the airport with his family when an upset passenger punched a Southwest Airlines gate supervisor in the face, according to witnesses.
"I felt concerned for his safety and with the news about San Bernardino, I just wanted to make sure he didn't become a threat," Barbari told NBC Bay Area.
Chicago police identified the passenger as Vincent Clark, 47, of San Francisco. Southwest Airlines says he had missed his flight.
"My kids were there, wife was there. It's the first time they've seen me do my work. I don't say much about it," Barbari said.
"They heard everyone call him a 'hero,' and once that happened, their fear turned to pride," said Sarah Barbari, Mezan's wife.
A spokesman for Southwest said the airline doesn't track how often its employees are assaulted but a Transportation Security Administration official said it happens to airline and TSA workers in general several times a week nationwide.
Clark has been charged with misdemeanor battery.