Brian Hedglin attempted to steal a plane from St. George Municipal Airport before committing suicide. (Credit: KKTV)
(CBS/AP) SALT LAKE CITY - A SkyWest Airlines employee wanted in connected with a Colorado murder attempted to steal a passenger plane from a small southern Utah airport then shot himself in the head after crashing the aircraft in a nearby parking lot, police confirmed Tuesday.
Brian Hedglin, 40, scaled a razor wire fence at the St. George Municipal Airport early Tuesday then boarded the 50-passenger SkyWest jet while the airport was closed, St. George city spokesman Marc Mortenson said.
Mortenson said the man used a rug to scale the airport's security fence in the middle of the night, drove the plane past a terminal building, clipping the wing, then crashed into cars in an airport parking lot. The plane never left the ground. Skywest officials said the man was on administrative leave at the time and they had deactivated his access cards on Friday.
A police officer making rounds found the plane idling, boarded it and found Hedglin dead with a gunshot wound to his head, Mortenson said.
Hedglin was wanted in connection with the death of Christina Cornejo, 39, in Colorado Springs. Her body was found Friday with multiple stab wounds by police doing a welfare check at Hedglin's Cheyenne Villas Point home at the request of her family. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
CBS affiliate KKTV obtained court documents that said Hedglin dated Cornejo for four years and was arrested in March after a heated argument. He was free on $10,000 bond when Cornejo was found dead.
"It was quite the crime scene, from what I understand," CSPD spokesperson Barbara Miller told KKTV Friday, earlier in the investigation.
Skywest officials said there were no passengers aboard the CRJ200 and the plane was not in service at the time, but the scene is still being surveyed.
"The aircraft did sustain damage; the extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals," the airliner said in a statement. "SkyWest is cooperating with authorities in the investigation."
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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