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(ST. GEORGE, Utah) — A man who entered a small Utah airport early Tuesday morning and damaged a SkyWest Airlines plane, a terminal building and some parked vehicles had been sought by authorities in the death of his girlfriend, a source with the airline told ABC News.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, fatally shot himself, the source said. SkyWest confirmed today that the suspect had been an employee of the company, but was on administrative leave. The source said the man had been a pilot.

The man drove his motorcycle to St. George Municipal Airport, then hopped a fence at 12:30 a.m. M.T. and later boarding the SkyWest aircraft, according to authorities.

The source told ABC News that after starting the engines of a 50-seat regional jetliner, the suspect clipped the wing of another aircraft and crashed through a fence as he taxied the plane.

The suspect previously had been sought in connection with his girlfriend’s slaying. Her body had been found in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Federal, local and airport authorities continued to investigate the incident today.

“The FBI is on scene at St. George Airport, along with St. George PD and TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement,” the FBI in Salt Lake City said in a statement earlier today.

According to SkyWest, its CRJ200 sustained damage. Mark Mortensen, a city spokesman, told the Deseret News that the terminal and vehicles in the parking lot had sustained minor damage as well.

Mortensen also said that while the private portion of the airport was open, the rest of the airport remained closed indefinitely. All commercial flights at the airport were canceled until further notice.

SkyWest is a regional airline based in St. George that operates flights for United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines with a fleet of 314 aircraft.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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