A SkyWest regional jet, with a damaged left wing, on the tarmac Tuesday at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah. Police say Brian Hedglin, a SkyWest pilot, killed himself after failing to steal the Bombardier CRJ200 overnight. He was sought for the stabbing death of his former girlfriend in Colorado Springs on Friday.
By Jud Burkett, The Spectrum, via AP/USA Today
McLean, VA (written by Michael Winter/USA Today) -- A SkyWest pilot suspected of murdering his former girlfriend in Colorado killed himself after failing to steal a small passenger jet in Utah, officials said today.
Brian Hedglin, a member of the Colorado Army National Guard, was also facing trial next month for allegedly breaking into the apartment of Christina Cornejo after they broke up in March. She was found stabbed to death Friday in her Colorado Springs apartment.
The airline said he had been placed on administrative leave.
Update at 6:15 p.m. ET: SkyWest confirms to our Gannett colleagues at The Spectrum that Hedglin was a pilot with the airline. Spokesperson Wes Horrocks said Hedglin was privy to specialized knowledge to get inside and operate the plane.
He did not say why Hedglin had been placed on administrative leave.
Original post: A SkyWest employee wanted for murdering his former girlfriend in Colorado killed himself after failing to steal a small passenger jet in Utah, according to news reports.
Brian Hedglin, 40, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head inside a SkyWest Bombardier CRJ200 at St. George Municipal Airport early today, the Associated Press says. The jet's two engines were still running.
Hedglin tried to steal the 50-seat regional jet overnight. About 1 a.m., a St. George police officer noticed a motorcycle parked near a barbed-wire perimeter fence, which had a rug thrown over it.
After backing the plane from the jet bridge, Hedglin clipped the structure with the left wing as he pulled forward, a city spokesman told the Salt Lake Tribune. He then scraped the left wing along the terminal building before driving the jet through a security fence, across landscaping and into the parking lot, where he hit several cars before coming to a halt. The officer found Hedglin dead.
The Tribune says that Federal Aviation Administration records show Hedglin had a first-class airline pilot's license, but it wasn't clear if he had any experience flying the aircraft.
SkyWest said in a statement that Hedglin was on administrative leave from the airline but did not identify his position. The Colorado Springs Gazette says he was a food service specialist in the Army National Guard.
Hedglin was wanted for the slaying of 39-year-old Christina Cornejo, of Colorado Springs, whose body was found Friday with multiple stab wounds. The two had dated for about four years when he was arrested in March after Cornejo told police he broke into her apartment, took back items he had given her and smashed a computer, the Gazette reports.
He was free on bond and was also scheduled to stand trial next month on charges of criminal mischief, theft and harassment.
The FBI, local police and the Transportation Security Administration are investigating.
The St. George Airport was reopened this afternoon.