Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

 
 

David Augustus BURKE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Fired airline employee
Number of victims: 43
Date of murder: December 7, 1987
Date of birth: May 18, 1952
Victims profile: All 43 people on board the aircraft
Method of murder: Shooting / Caused the plane to crash
Location: In the air, USA
Status: Died in the plane crash
 
 
 
 
 
 

On December 7, 1987, David Burke, a fired airline employee, followed his ex-boss onboard a Pacific Southwest Airline jet with his mind set on revenge.

He shot the man in mid-flight and caused the plane to crash, killing all forty-three people onboard including himself.

 
 

David Burke was a man who felt persecuted. He had been fired from his job with Pacific Southwest Airlines for what he thought of as nothing.

Unfortunately for him the airline considered the theft of thousands of dollars from alcohol sales as more than nothing. He was also being investigated because of the belief that he was using his position with the airline to help Cocaine smugglers get into the country more easily.

And now David Burke was gunning for revenge. And he blamed one man for his problems, Raymond Thompson.

On December 7, 1987, Burke decided it was time to be revenged. He booked himself onto a flight that he knew Raymond Thompson would be on. He did little packing for the trip though, all he had was his .44 Magnum handgun.

As the plane was midway through the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, it mysteriously went down, crashing in the San Luis Obispo. When investigators saw the name of Burke on the flight they immediately became suspicious, as Burke was known to be very pissed off at the airline.

During the search of the wreckage they found a .44 Magnum and six spent shells.

These were found in what remained of the cockpit. It seemed that Burke had killed the pilots, along with the flight supervisor Thompson. Near to this wreckage was found a part of a note to Thompson. It read, "Hi Ray, I think it's rather ironical that we ended up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family, remember? Well I got none, and you will get none." When the black box flight recorder was discovered there was quite clearly the sounds of gunshots in the background.

It would seem that Burke was very successful in his revenge. After his death a suicide note was found in which Burke said that he was hoping to kill Thompson.

 
 

David Augustus Burke (May 18, 1952–December 7, 1987) was an employee of USAir (now US Airways), who had been on unpaid leave following an investigation into his theft of $69 from an airline fund. In a hearing on December 7, 1987 he was dismissed from his job by his supervisor, Raymond Frank Thomson, even after he pleaded for leniency. As he left his office, he was told to have a nice day, for which he replied, "I intend on having a very good day."

Burke then purchased a ticket on PSA Flight 1771, a daily flight from Los Angeles, California to San Francisco, that Ray Thomson, his supervisor, took daily as Thomson lived in San Francisco and worked at Los Angeles International Airport. Using his USAir credentials, Burke was able to bypass security armed with a loaded .44 Magnum pistol. After he got onto the plane at Los Angeles International Airport, he wrote a note on an air-sickness bag. The note read:

Hi Ray. I think it's sort of ironical that we ended up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family. Remember? Well, I got none and you'll get none.

As the plane was cruising at 22,000 feet, Burke left his seat and headed to the lavatory, dropping the note on Thomson's lap. As he exited the lavatory a few moments later, Burke took out his handgun and shot Thomson, as the cockpit voice recorder later confirmed. He then headed for the cockpit door. The recorder then picked up the voice of a female, presumed to be a flight attendant, who told the cockpit crew, "We have a problem." The captain replied, "What kind of problem?" Burke then appeared at the cockpit door and announced, "I'm the problem," simultaneously firing two more shots that probably killed the pilots.

Several seconds later, the cockpit recorder picked up increasing windscreen noise as the airplane pitched down and began to accelerate. This may have been deliberate on the part of Burke, or may have been the result of the dead pilots slumping down onto the control columns. At this point, Burke turned the gun on himself. As the plane descended through 13,000 feet, at a speed of Mach 1.2, it broke apart and crashed in a farmer's field in the Santa Lucia Mountains near the coastal town of Cayucos, California.

Forty-three people, including Burke, were killed in the shootings and plane crash, making David Burke the worst African-American mass murderer in US history.

Previously, Burke had worked for an airline in Rochester, New York, where he was a suspect in a drug-smuggling ring that was bringing cocaine from Jamaica to Rochester via the airline. He was never officially charged.

 
 

Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 was a commercial flight that crashed near San Luis Obispo, California, on December 7, 1987. All 43 people on board the aircraft were killed, including the man who caused the crash, a disgruntled airline employee. Among the dead were James R. Sylla, President of Chevron Corporation USA; three other Chevron executives, and Dr. Neil Webb, president of Dominican University of California.

David Burke was an employee of USAir, the airline that had recently purchased and was in the process of absorbing Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). However, Burke had been terminated by USAir for petty theft and, after meeting with his supervisor in an unsuccessful attempt to be reinstated, he purchased a ticket on Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771, a daily flight from Los Angeles, California to San Francisco. Burke's supervisor, Raymond F. Thomson, took the flight regularly since Thomson lived in San Francisco but worked at Los Angeles International Airport.

Using his unsurrendered USAir credentials, Burke, armed with a loaded .44 Magnum pistol that he had borrowed from a co-worker, was able to bypass the security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport. After boarding the plane, Burke wrote a message on an air-sickness bag. The note read:

Hi Ray. I think it's sort of ironical that we ended up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family. Remember? Well, I got none and you'll get none.

As the plane, a four engine British Aerospace BAe 146-200, cruised at 22,000 feet (6700 m) over the central California coast, Burke left his seat and headed to the lavatory, dropping the note on Thomson's lap. As he exited the lavatory a few moments later, Burke took out his handgun and fired twice at Thomson, as the cockpit voice recorder later confirmed. He then opened the cockpit door. A female, presumed to be a flight attendant, told the cockpit crew that "we have a problem." The captain replied, "What kind of problem?" Burke then appeared at the cockpit door and announced "I'm the problem," simultaneously firing three more shots that probably killed the pilots.

Several seconds later, the cockpit recorder picked up increasing windscreen noise as the airplane pitched down and began to accelerate. A final gunshot was heard and it is speculated that Burke fatally shot himself. The plane then descended and crashed into the hillside of a cattle ranch at 4:16 p.m. in the Santa Lucia Mountains near Cayucos, California.

It was determined several days later by the FBI (after the discovery of both the handgun containing six spent bullet casings and the note written on the air-sickness bag) that Burke was the person responsible for the crash. In addition to the evidence uncovered at the crash site, other factors surfaced: Burke's co-worker admitted to having lent him the gun, and Burke had also left a farewell message on his girlfriend's telephone answering machine.

Strict federal laws were passed after the crash, including a law that required "immediate seizure of all airline employee credentials" upon termination from an airline position, and another policy that was put into place where all members of any airline flight crew, including the captain, were to be subjected to the same security measures as are the passengers.

Wikipedia.org

 
 


Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashed near San Luis Obispo, California, on December 7, 1987. All 43 people on board the aircraft were killed.

 

The flight recorder from PSA Flight 1771, as seen at NTSB Headquarters
in Washington DC.

 

 

 
 
 
 
home last updates contact