Authorities say Brian Hedglin, 40, was wanted in the death of Christina Cornejo, 39, of Colorado Springs. Her body was found with multiple stab wounds on Friday by police doing a welfare check at the request of her family.
Investigators had been searching for Hedglin and even contacted his employer, SkyWest, to have them deactivate his access cards. He was placed on administrative leave on Friday, the airline said.
An airport official said on Tuesday, Hedglin scaled a razor wire fence at the St. George Municipal Airport using gloves and a piece of carpet. He then boarded a 50-passenger SkyWest jet while the airport was closed at about 1 a.m.
"It's a SkyWest plane, he's a current SkyWest pilot. He's going to know exactly how to get into the plane, activate all the systems ... and take that plane off," said St. George Police Capt. James Van Fleet.
He drove the plane past a terminal building, clipping the wing, and then crashed into cars in an airport parking lot. The plane never left the ground.
A police officer found a motorcycle with the engine running just outside the perimeter fence. He then came across the plane idling and contacted the airline. An airline employee boarded the plane and found Hedglin dead with a gunshot wound to his head.
"He wasn't in the cabin. I believe he was about halfway down the plane in the aisle," Van Fleet said.
According to the Gazette of Colorado Springs, Hedglin had dated Cornejo for four years and was arrested in March for harassing her. The newspaper said he was free on $10,000 bond when Cornejo was found dead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.