"The person who stole it was either doing it on a lark, or was suicidal", Pastor said, adding there was no indication anyone else was on the plane.
Investigators said they don't believe Russell had a pilot's license and they're unsure how he was able to fly the way he did.
"To be honest with you, commercial aircraft are complex machines. No idea how he achieved that experience".
He had worked for Horizon Air for more than three years, towing and tidying aircraft and loading bags.
It's unclear how he attained the skills to do loops in the aircraft before crashing about an hour after taking off into a small island in the Puget Sound, authorities said.
A sheriff's department spokesman said the man may have been suicidal but there was no terrorism connection.
"If he had the skill set to do loops with a plane like this, he certainly had the capacity to fly it into a building and kill people on the ground", he said. On Saturday morning, the Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen, read another statement on CNN.More news: NASA's $2 billion flight to sun delayed by last-minute technical problem
"He was a quiet guy. It seemed like he was well liked by the other workers", Christenson told The Seattle Times.
The family of 29-year-old Richard Russell, who liked to be called Beebo, delivered a statement to the media.
At one point he explained he had put some gas in the plane "to go check out the Olympics. and uh, yeah".
A man crashes a passenger plane in Washington State, after performing an unauthorized take-off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Sheriff's department officials said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident. Unverified video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with an F-15 following it.
The White House said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report Twitter says InfoWars account will remain online despite violating its rules Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called "chain migration" MORE, now staying at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, had been briefed on the situation. A former Horizon Air colleague of Russell's who witnessed the crash told Buzzfeed that Russell was "a pretty nice kid", and that "It never crossed my mind that somebody would do something like that".
As Russell nosedived toward the water, "We were all screaming, 'Oh my god, oh my god!' and I was yelling, 'Pull up, pull up!'" Christenson said.More news: Team gives medication to sick killer whale at sea
"Congratulations", an air traffic controller says, "you did that, now let's try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody on the ground". "I've played video games before, so I know what I'm doing a little bit". "I was kinda hoping that was gonna be it. Ya know?"
What did the pilot say to air traffic control?On the clip the hijacker talks about running low on fuel and asks if he'll get life in jail.
The control tower then urged him to land at a nearby military base.
"I wouldn't want to do that. They probably have anti-aircraft", he responds.
"Rich" explains that he had put some fuel in the plane "to go check out the Olympics", but then anxious that he was low on gasoline.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the audio between "Rich" and the tower in condensed form (which is not embeddable here), and the impression in the first part of the recording is of someone who's enjoying himself - even as he's putting lots of other people at risk.More news: Cam Jordan calls Donald Trump a 'Goober' for anthem tweets