QUEENS — A one-handed award-winning boxer from Whitestone was arrested Friday morning after he punched and bit police officers trying to restrain him for creating a disturbance at LaGuardia Airport, sources said.
Michael Costantino, 35, who once used his only hand to win his Golden Gloves debut by knockout, was heading to Toronto when he began shouting in the airport near the screening area about 8:30 a.m., sources said.
Port Authority officers were escorting Costantino, who once unsuccessfully applied to work for the Transportation Security Administration, to a waiting ambulance for evaluation, but he started acting violently, slugging one officer in the jaw and biting another's right hand, a PAPD spokesman said. They were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.
Other officers subdued the light heavyweight and he was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for evaluation, the Port Authority said.
It was unknown what sparked Costantino's outburst, but his distressed mother said that he had been acting strangely lately because a business venture had soured.
"He's been talking crazy like he's going to kill himself," said his mother, 69-year-old Maria Costantino, who lives with him in a Queens home.
Costantino said her son came home about 3 a.m., but couldn't sleep and abruptly left two hours later.
"I knew he was going to snap. I knew something was going to happen. I need somebody to help my son," the mother said.
Costantino boxed for over a decade, earning the "fighter of the night" award in the 2002 Golden Gloves for knocking out his opponent in the novice division, according to the Daily News.
The light heavyweight was able to use his shorter arm for close-range body shots and defense.
Last October, he made his pro debut against Nathan Ortiz and won on a TKO.
"He tried to prove something. He was very good at sports as a child. All the coaches said he was better than people with two hands," his mother said.
In 2011, he applied to the TSA and passed all the tests, but was eventually denied because he only had one hand, CBS reported.
"Then he got a settlement – I don’t know how much because he never told me – and he used that money to start a business," his mother said.
But she said his partners just stole the money from him.
"He doesn’t want to talk to nobody. He doesn’t trust nobody. I don’t blame him that he doesn’t trust nobody," his mother said.
She did not know why Costantino bought a ticket to Toronto.
He's expected to be charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
Costantino's civil lawyer Jonathan Bell, did not immediately return a call for comment.