"My life really flashed before my eyes," said Rodney Bailey, a passenger aboard American Airlines flight 4305 from New York's JFK airport to Indianapolis Thursday.
"I'm like the fourth seat, so I see him go towards the cockpit door. I look at him like what's he doing, and then he goes to the side door, which is where we entered," Bailey said. "I looked at him and then I started to get up and he ran back down the aisle."
Other passengers on the plane later told police that Alshammari started pacing in the aisle. Minutes later Bailey said Alshammari came back up to the front and went straight for the cabin door.
"He pulls down the protective covering of the entrance door, which is how we entered the plane," Bailey said. "And he starts to try to open the door."
That's when Bailey said one thought crossed his mind.
"If something is going to happen, it's not going to be on this flight," Bailey said. "I just jumped out of my seat and went straight towards him and grabbed him."
Bailey said he then forced Alshammari back to his seat. Bailey said Alshammari didn't resist, but wouldn't answer any questions.
"He seemed fidgety and uneasy," Bailey said.
As the plane landed, Bailey said airport police officers greeted the passengers at the gate. The police report said Alshammari spoke broken English and was hard to understand, but that he told investigators he was not clear on what he had done and did not understand what was going on.
Police contacted the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center and the FBI's national terrorist screening center, but Alshammari's name came back negative. He was also not wanted on any warrants, so he was not arrested.
Airport police did reportedly request for a T.S.A. agent to respond and speak with Alshammari, but the agency did not respond.
According to the police report, Alshammari said he was a student at the University of Indianapolis. Fox59 checked with the University of Indianapolis, Indiana University and IUPUI, but none of the schools reported having a record of a student matching his name.
Alshammari's flight itinerary showed that he flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to Doha, Qatar; to JFK, New York; to Indianapolis.
According to the report, Alshammari also wrote a note on the plane, but it didn't elaborate.
"It says it was in Arabic, but it doesn't say what it said," Bailey said. "You know, what's the note say?"
Though Bailey is frustrated by a lack of answers, one thing he said he doesn't question is whether or not he did the right thing.
"I wasn't going to, you know, die in the middle of a corn field in Indiana," Bailey said. "I was going to try to keep whatever was happening, regardless of whether it was innocent or not, from happening."
Fox59 News tried to reach Alshammari, but could not locate him.