Murder suspect attempts to steal aircraft

Posted by Transport & Business Express | 17 July 2012 | 4,302 times

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An airline captain who entered a small American airport earlier today and damaged a SkyWest Airlines jetliner, a terminal building and some parked vehicles, had been sought by authorities in the death of his girlfriend.

ABC News quotes a source at the airline as saying that Brian Joseph Hedglin, 40, of Colorado Springs, Colo., fatally shot himself. SkyWest confirmed today that the suspect had been an employee of the company but was on administrative leave.

A Federal Aviation Agency database confirmed that Hedglin was certified to fly commercially as a captain.

ABC reports that Hedglin drove his motorcycle to St. George Municipal Airport, hopped a fence at 12:30 a.m. M.T. and then boarded the SkyWest aircraft, according to authorities.

A source told ABC News that after starting the engines of a 50-seat regional jetliner, Hedglin clipped the wing of another aircraft and crashed through a fence as he taxied the plane. It wasn’t clear whether the plane ever got off the ground.

Hedglin had been named a suspect in the slaying of 39-year-old girlfriend Christina Lopez Cornejo, according to ABC News affiliate KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs quoted by Yahoo! The two were members of the Colorado National Guard.

Her body was found Friday at a home in Colorado Springs, Colo. KRDO-TV said that court records showed Hedglin faced charges after being arrested in a domestic disturbance involving Cornejo several months ago.

Federal, local and airport authorities continued to investigate the airport incident today.

“The FBI is on scene at St. George Airport, along with St. George PD and TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement,” the FBI in Salt Lake City said in a statement earlier today.

According to SkyWest, its CRJ200 sustained damage.

All commercial flights at the airport were canceled until further notice. Mark Mortensen, a city spokesman, told the Deseret News that the terminal and vehicles in the parking lot had sustained minor damage as well.

Mortensen also said that while the private portion of the airport was open, the rest of the airport remained closed indefinitely.

SkyWest is a regional airline based in St. George that operates flights for United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines with a fleet of 314 aircraft.

Source: TBE

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