• Friend of Richard Russell: He was one to find beauty in everything

    By: Nicole Jennings

    Updated:

    A friend of Richard Russell -- the 29-year-old man who stole an empty Horizon Air Bombadier Q400 from Sea-Tac Airport Friday evening, flew it around the South Puget Sound, and crashed it on Ketron Island -- told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the man she knew as “Beebo” was  “incredible.”

    “He’s just got a heart of gold and it was a shock to hear [about the incident],” Aryn Hansen said. “But you could hear it in his voice that even then, he was sad about it.”

    Hansen, whose brother played football with Russell in high school and college, remembers the young man as a “really moral guy” who pulled his friends away from high school drinking parties by hosting non-alcoholic bonfires.

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    “He just tried to get everybody on the straight and narrow with laughter and kindness,” Hansen recalled, describing Russell as “a brother bear.”

    Russell always provided a shoulder for his loved ones, according to Hansen; she felt like she could talk to him about anything. Once, when Hansen’s car was stuck in a ditch after it nearly rolled over, Russell stopped alongside the road to comfort her after the scary experience and keep her company until her family arrived.

    An avid outdoors man who had previously lived in Alaska, Russell loved hiking and camping, and “found peace … in the wilderness,” Hansen said. In the call between Russell and air traffic control, Russell can be heard commenting on the majestic views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.

    Hansen, whose brother played football with Russell in high school and college, remembers the young man as a “really moral guy” who pulled his friends away from high school drinking parties by hosting non-alcoholic bonfires.

    RELATED: What happened to “Beebo” Russell between Alaska and Washington

    “He just tried to get everybody on the straight and narrow with laughter and kindness,” Hansen recalled, describing Russell as “a brother bear.”

    Russell always provided a shoulder for his loved ones, according to Hansen; she felt like she could talk to him about anything. Once, when Hansen’s car was stuck in a ditch after it nearly rolled over, Russell stopped alongside the road to comfort her after the scary experience and keep her company until her family arrived.

    An avid outdoors man who had previously lived in Alaska, Russell loved hiking and camping, and “found peace … in the wilderness,” Hansen said. In the call between Russell and air traffic control, Russell can be heard commenting on the majestic views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.

    “He had resources and he just kind of chose a different route,” she said. “It doesn’t take away from our love for him or our respect for him because the man he was was incredible.”

    She cannot make sense of why Russell chose to end his life, but she has an idea of why he chose the manner of suicide that he did.

    “I think he wanted to be as close to God as he could and have beauty before him,” Hansen said.

    RELATED: What happened to “Beebo” Russell between Alaska and Washington

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