Coos Bay friend remembers man who crashed Horizon Air plane as loving and polite

Richard "Beebo" Russell was identified as the man who stole a Horizon Air plane off the tarmac at Sea-Tac on Aug. 10, 2018. LinkedIn photo via CNN

COOS BAY, Ore. – The 29-year-old airport worker who stole a commercial plane and crashed to his death near Seattle Friday evening used to live in the Coos Bay area.

Tom Whelchel says he used to work with Richard “Beebo” Russell. Welchel still lives in Coos Bay and owns a business next to the bakery Russell once ran with his wife.

Welchel says the entire community in the coastal town is beside itself.

In 2012, Russell and his wife, Hannah Marie, opened “Hannah Marie’s Artisan Breads and Pastries.”

Welchel says the store was a hit and the couple was well-liked

He’s trying not to dwell on Russell’s tragic ending. Instead, Welchel is focusing on the good memories, like seeing Russell and his wife walk to their bakery in the morning.

“Just the companionship, the friendship, the love that was in their eyes and in their face. I would always say to myself, ‘That’s a couple. That is true love. That’s a bond right there,” Welchel said.

His story echoes others from people who knew Russell.

All of them paint the image of a man who was polite and friendly.

As Welchel put it, “I would’ve bet everything that I owned that Beebo would never have done anything like that.”

RELATED | Family remembers rogue Horizon pilot as 'kind and gentle to each person he met'

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