Saturday, November 20, 2021

Police say killing of Southwest Airlines employee at El Paso International Airport (KELP) wasn’t random act

UPDATE, November 21: Investigators on Sunday revealed new details about the killing of a Southwest Airlines employee at El Paso International Airport, saying Friday night's attack wasn't a random act and reassuring travelers that the airport is safe.

Authorities also said they had now determined the 49-year-old victim wasn't killed during robbery, as first thought, and new information indicated his cause of his death wasn't from being shot as originally believed.

Police outlined the latest developments in a statement issued Sunday afternoon...

" The El Paso Police Department has received several calls asking about the safety of the airport. After Friday's incident, where a male was killed in the employee parking lot. The ongoing investigation by the Crimes Against Persons Unit has determined that this case was not a result of a robbery. In addition, no shooting took place. This crime occurred outside in a parking lot and never impacted the airport. The preliminary investigations suggest the victim and involved persons knew each other. Due to the ongoing investigation, the manner of death can not be released at this time. The Police Department does not believe this was a random act, and there is no immediate danger to the public or travelers."

UPDATE, November 20: As of mid-morning Saturday, El Paso police said no arrests had been made and no one had been taken into custody for what they described as Friday's night "murder" at the airport following a robbery.

Investigators remained at the airport parking lot where the killing occurred and said they anticipated being there through the afternoon hours.

"The preliminary investigation indicates this is not a random incident, and there is no threat at the airport," said Officer Adrian Cisneros, an EPPD spokesman, in a statement.

Authorities were asking the community for help and urged anyone with information about the slaying to contact police at (915) 832-4400 or call Crime Stoppers with anonymous tips at (915) 566-8477.

ORIGINAL REPORT, November 19: EL PASO, Texas -- An armed robbery led to a deadly shooting of an airline employee late Friday night in the long-term parking lot at El Paso International Airport during the start of the busy holiday travel season.

An El Paso police spokesman would only identify the “aggravated robbery” victim as a 49-year-old man and declined to discuss the cause of death.

However, Southwest Airlines confirmed later Saturday morning to ABC-7 that the victim was a Southwest Ground Operations employee who was shot to death in the employee portion of the lot while leaving work on Friday night.

"This is a heartbreaking, tragic loss for the Southwest Team, and we extend deepest sympathies to our colleague’s family, loved ones, and their extended Southwest Family. Southwest leadership is focused on supporting our employees while we offer our full support to the active investigation being conducted by local law enforcement," the airline said in a statement to ABC-7.

At least one robber was being sought, police said early Saturday, but added that there may be more suspects; no one was in custody, but authorities maintained there was no threat to the airport.

Police officials described the airport lot where the shooting occurred as a "very active" crime scene that would likely be closed through Saturday afternoon. A mobile command center was deployed at the airport along with numerous Crimes Against Persons detectives. ABC-7 also observed several people consoling each other near the area where the shooting occurred.

The incident unfolded as the airport was busier than usual due to an uptick in holiday travel. While the long term lot was closed, the short term parking lot and the main entrance to the terminal remained open.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Police say a 50-year-old man is dead after being attacked in the El Paso International Airport.

It happened just before 10 p.m. in an area near the employee parking area at El Paso International Airport. A police spokesperson says they were dispatched in reference to an Aggravated Robbery, and upon arrival discovered a 49-year-old man dead. They declined to say whether he’d been shot or if some other weapon was used.

Shortly after midday Saturday, Southwest Airlines issued the following statement:

“It is with heavy hearts that Southwest Airlines confirms a Southwest Ground Operations Employee has passed away after being shot in a parking lot at the El Paso International Airport on Friday night while leaving work. This is a heartbreaking, tragic loss for the Southwest Team, and we extend deepest sympathies to our colleague’s family, loved ones, and their extended Southwest Family. Southwest Leadership is focused on supporting our Employees while we offer our full support to the active investigation being conducted by local law enforcement.”


The City of El Paso confirmed the victim was an employee of Southwest Airlines. They released the following statement Saturday morning:

“We are shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic event. Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the victim’s family, Southwest Airlines, and all those impacted by the incident. We are fully cooperating with investigators, and we are grateful to our law enforcement and first responders for their quick response to the emergency. The airport remains open as we work with law enforcement to provide a safe flying experience.”


Police say at least one suspect was outstanding as of Saturday morning. There is no current impact on airport operations, but employees should contact their supervisors for instructions on parking for the remainder of Saturday as investigators work to piece together the scene.

The El Paso Police Department is asking the community if they have any information; please contact the police at (915) 832-4400 or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (915) 566-8477.

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