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Thu, Jul 19, 2012

Commercial Pilot Attempts To Steal SkyWest Commuter Jet

Suspected In His Girlfriends Murder, The Pilot Damaged The Airplane And Terminal While Taxiing, Committed Suicide

A pilot for SkyWest Airlines attempted to steal a 50-seat regional jet from St. George Municipal Airport (KSGU) in St. George, UT, on Tuesday while allegedly on the run suspected of the murder of his girlfriend in Colorado Springs.

The woman, 39-year-old Christina Cornejo, was found stabbed to death in the residence of the suspect, 40-year-old Brian Joseph Hedglin, a pilot for SkyWest. Hedglin had been arrested for harassing the woman, but was free on bail, according to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette. She had broken off their relationship in March.

After finding the victim, Colorado Springs authorities contacted SkyWest and asked that they deactivate Hedglin's employee access card, which they did.

The airline is headquartered at St. George, and police there found Hedglin's motorcycle outside the airport perimeter fence. There was a rug over the barbed wire fence, leading them to suspect someone had climbed over it. While police investigated the motorcycle, which had recently been run, the pilot gained access to a CRJ200 aircraft and started the engines.

Television station KSL reports that in attempting to taxi the airplane to a runway, Hedglin clipped the terminal and somehow wound up in the airport parking lot, damaging several vehicles along the way. He was found dead of an apparently self-inflected gunshot wound inside the airplane, about halfway down the aisle.

SkyWest released a statement saying Hedglin was on "administrative leave" at the time of the incident. The airport was closed for a short time on Tuesday. The incident is being investigated jointly by the FBI, TSA, and the St. George, UT, police department.

FMI: www.tsa.gov, www.fbi.gov

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