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Airline pilot arrested after airport parking garage attack

 August 19, 2023

Kenneth Jones, a 63-year-old senior pilot with United Airlines, was recently charged with criminal mischief after he unleashed an axe attack on a malfunctioning parking barrier at Denver International Airport.

With only a couple of years until retirement, Jones reportedly lost control after facing difficulties while trying to leave the airport's staff parking lot, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Police reports indicate that the frustration was due to an unresponsive exit gate, which led Jones to grab an axe from his car and strike the barrier 23 times until it finally gave way.

According to police authorities, Jones explained that he had "just hit his breaking point" and was attempting to resolve a problem that many others faced.

The Incident: Details and Reactions

Video footage from the airport captures the uniformed pilot walking towards the barrier carrying an axe, as surrounding motorists watch in disbelief.

He can be seen repeatedly striking the gate until it dislodges from its hinge, opening the exit.

Airport authorities revealed that the issue arose from gate delays, as many users did not have the proper permit to exit, as CBS News Colorado reported.

On the day of the incident, Jones told officers that he acted out of frustration after observing six cars waiting at each of the three exit gates.

The airport footage shows a man in a high-visibility jacket is seen wrestling the axe away from the pilot in another part of the car park.

With the help of a second individual, they managed to detain Jones until police arrived on the scene. Officers then escorted him in handcuffs to their vehicle.

United's Response and Legal Proceedings

Following the incident, United Airlines suspended Jones and initiated an internal investigation.

A spokesperson for the company stated, "He was removed from the schedule and is on leave while United conducts an internal investigation."

Jones holds qualifications to fly some of Boeing's largest passenger aircraft, such as the 767 and 757.

The pilot, who has no previous criminal record in Colorado, was captured on video being released from police custody following the incident.

He is scheduled for an arraignment hearing in Adams County Court on Sept. 25.

This incident has raised questions about the potential impact on Jones' pension, particularly as the U.S. Senate is considering a proposal to raise the retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67.

It remains uncertain if the 63-year-old pilot's recent behavior will permanently impact his employment status.