Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Colorado Springs, CO: Pilot who 'killed his girlfriend' tries to steal a commercial plane, crashes it and then kills himself

An airline captain on the run after murdering his girlfriend today stole a passenger jet in an apparent attempt to escape but crashed the aircraft into a terminal building and then shot himself.

Brian Hedglin, 40, went on the rampage in a 50-seat passenger jet at St George airport in Utah days after murdering his girlfriend.

Police say he drove his motorbike to the St George Municipal Airport in Utah and scaled a razor wire fence while the airport was closed, using a rug for protection

He then boarded the 50-passenger SkyWest jet and drove it past a terminal building, clipping the wing, before crashing into cars in a parking lot.

The captain - who worked for Skywest - then shot himself in the cockpit.

A police officer making routine rounds noticed the rug over the fence and moments later heard the sound of a plane's engine firing up.

He found the craft idling, boarded it and discovered Hedglin dead, a gunshot wound to his head.

The plane was not in service at the time and had no passengers on board. All commercial flights were cancelled until further notice.

Hedglin was wanted in connection with the death of Christina Cornejo, 39, in Colorado Springs. Her body was found Friday by police doing a welfare check at the request of her family. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

The Gazette of Colorado Springs, citing court records, reported that Hedglin dated Cornejo, for four years and was arrested in March after claims he had been harassing her.

They were both members of the Colorado National Guard. Hedglin had served part-time since 2008 as a chef. He had never deployed.

Cornejo was full-time, having worked for the Guard since 2006, becoming an officer in 2011.

The newspaper said he was free on $10,000 bond when Cornejo was found dead.

The Utah airport remained closed to commercial traffic as the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration investigated the incident.

Skywest officials said there were no passengers aboard the CRJ200 and the plane was not in service at the time.

In a statement, the airline would say only that the incident involved one of its employees who had been on administrative leave.

A dozen flights leave or arrive at the St. George airport each weekday, according to the airport's website. Most run between southern Utah and Salt Lake City, with two flights connecting St. George and Los Angeles.

Skywest said its passengers are having their itineraries rearranged.

The CRJ200 made by Bombardier is capable of flying up to 534 mph with a range of 1,700 miles. Normally it has a two-person flight crew and a single flight attendant.

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