United Airlines pilot accused of destroying parking lot barrier with ax in Denver

A United Airlines pilot “hit his breaking point” and took out his frustrations on a parking lot arm with an ax near Denver International Airport, authorities said Friday.

Kenneth Henderson Jones, 63, was accused of criminal mischief stemming from the Aug. 2 incident, according to an incident report by the Adam County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were dispatched about 2 p.m. to a parking lot in the shadows of DIA.

Parking lot employee Rick Stephens, 65, confronted Jones, who “refused to drop” the ax, officials said. Both men were uninjured “during the confrontation” that ended with the pilot losing possession of the potential weapon, the sheriff’s report said.

“Kenneth ran across the street and behind a building and stayed in a field until he was contacted by” Denver police, the report added.

A United Airlines jetliner taxis to a runway for take off in Denver on Dec. 27, 2022. David Zalubowski / AP

The suspect, who was in his pilot’s uniform, allegedly agreed to speak to deputies without a lawyer and told them he was in his car and came upon about six vehicles waiting behind each of three gates.

“Kenneth started by saying he just hit his breaking point,” according to the sheriff’s report.

He parked and grabbed the ax he had his vehicle, with the suspect explaining that he was just “trying to get rid of issues for everyone waiting,” according to the sheriff.

A United Airlines rep said a pilot had been removed from the schedule as the carrier conducts its own investigation. United did not identify the pilot.

The sheriff’s report lists United as Jones’ employer, and there was no answer at a phone number he gave to deputies as his contact.

Jones’ defense lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment Friday. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 25.

He was cited with a summons for criminal mischief and released at 3:05 p.m. that day, sheriff’s records showed. The value of the damaged parking lot arm was listed as $300.


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