The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on December 12, 1987 · Page 10
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 10

San Bernardino, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 12, 1987
Page 10
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A10 1 FLIGHT 1771: AFTERMATH FBI confirms note found in plane wreckage was from fired worker CAYUCOS (AP) The FBI confirmed Friday a revenge note found in the wreckage of PSA Flight 1771 was written by a fired airline worker believed responsible for the jet's crash. Hundreds of people attended memorial services Friday for victims of Monday's crash, which killed 43 people, as many searchers left the crash scene. Investigators believe David A. Burke carried a borrowed pistol past airport security guards who recognized him and let him pass without screening, then boarded the jet and scrawled the message to his ex-boss before using the gun and possibly explosives to send the plane into a 22,000-foot plunge. Burke, 35, and his former supervisor, Raymond Thomson, were among those killed when the Pacific Southwest Airlines jet, bound for San Francisco from Los Angeles, disintegrated into a hillside near this central California community. He had been fired by USAir, which owns PSA, on Nov. 19. Had he survived, he would have been charged with murder and air piracy, Los Angeles FBI chief Richard Bretzing said. Emergency workers began leaving the crash site by af ternoon. San Luis Obispo County sherilTs Lt. Tom Garrity said deputies would pick up the last important debris by night but keep the area sealed for several days until PSA removed remaining debris. The note found in the wreckage was the newest of the evidence gathered at the crash site and at Burke's Long Beach condominium to implicate the British-born ex-ticket agent. The revenge message was scrawled on an air sickness bag found Thursday in the jet rubble. It read: "Hi Ray. I think it's sort of ironical that we end up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family, remember. Well I got none and you'll get none." FBI handwriting experts in Washington determined Friday the message was written by Burke, Bretzing said. Thomson. 48. fired Burke for allegedly stealing less than $!) in beverage receipts from the airline. In an affidavit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the FBI quoted a National Transportation Safety Board investigator as saying that a se en-mile swath of charred documents on the ground indicated an explosion as well as gunfire might have caused the crash. Family defends Burke name despite evidence LONG BEACH (AP) David A. Burke was not a violent, avaricious murderer, despite evidence suggesting he killed a planeload of people to get even with a boss he believed was out to get him, his family says. "To say that he was a distraught employee who lost his job and wanted to kill everybody, that's crazy," said Altamont Burke, 27, of Atlanta. Both he and his brother, Allan Burke, 37, of Rochester, N.Y.. have been here for the past few days trying to learn what happened to Dav id Burke. Federal investigators are convinced Burke used a gun and possibly explosives to cause the crash of Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 on Monday. The jet smashed onto a hillside near Cayucos in Central California midway through its flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco, killing all 43 on board. Burke, who had worked for USAir, PSA's parent company, for 14 years, was fired by his supervisor, Raymond Thomson, on Nov. 19. Burke's discharge apparently climaxed a five-month feud between the men. Burke, who was black, had alleged to state authorities long before he was fired that Thomson had passed him over for promotion because of race. The two met several times after Burke was fired, including the day of the plane crash, but Burke was not reinstated. The brothers disputed the allegations of investigators, the recollections of friends w ho described Burke as a woman beater and drug smuggler and insinuations Burke lived the high life from drug profits. Why would Burke throw his A David A. Burke Race may have been a factor life away over a lost job w hen he had already invested money and was in the process of buying a check-cashing franchise in southwest Los Angeles, they asked. Although Burke had talked to several members of his family during the last month, he told none of them he had been fired or that he had broken his engagement to Jacqueline Camacho of Hawthorne, the brothers said. On July 15, Burke went to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing and said he had been passed over twice for promotion to customer service supervisor. Burke alleged white workers with less experience were promoted to the supervisory positions he deserved, said Annabella Hwa, the department's district manager in Los Angeles. Burke, although investigated several times for alleged drug involvement and auto theft in New-York, w as never charged. Wrap Up Your Christmas Shopping At The "NEW" Inland Center Mall. New Stores! More Selections! 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