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May 15, 2008



I just read your blog for the first time. I really like it!

Dave Richards

I covered the story for KINT. Also reported it for KABL in San Francisco, CA.

Had my press card and was allowed just under the planes open back door. I could see both father and son with guns talking to autorities below. Then some of the other media asked the FBI how I was allowed so close and they came over and made me go back to where the media was. I found out that they thought my ID said FBI.


The son, Cody would be 63 years old today. How long was he sentenced for? Where is he now? I assume his Dad is deceased by now. What kind of life would this 16 year old have had? I would imagene his life would have been a ruined one.


Trish!! Thanks a bunch! I'm touched by your dedication.*sniffles*
This country's first commercial airline skyjacking-another dubious honor for El Paso I suppose. Great post, yes I love the photos!


Leon is alive and well. FYI :)

Ellis Posey

I, too, covered the story for KINT, in the terminal. While waiting for Bob Six to fly in for a press confeence, on the phone with a live story, the manager "Big Al" got on and told me to gert back to the station for my DJ show or I was fired. So ol' Dave Richards got all the glory. Good for him.

Ellis Posey


My dad was a rookie police officer at the time, and he told me this story, I'm not sure if he was a part of the team that was providing security for the event or one of the officers that shot out the tires. It's the first time I've thought about looking it up.

He told me another story, and I'd love to get it validated.

It was a 2nd highjacking attempt where there was only a single highjacker armed with only a straight razor and the plane basically got maced by the responding officer.

Has anyone else heard of this one? I know it was between the 61 event and maybe 67-68?

Sal Molina

I was a civilian then and remember the incident well. In 1963 I joined the El Paso Police Dept and became acquainted with officer Risley who according to the local news, threw a a hefty reporter over the 8 ft fence at the airport during the hijacking. It struck me as a funny exaggeration as Risly was somewhat short and didn't weigh much over 150 lbs. FBI agent Crosby taught defensive tactics when I went through the academy and I learned some good stuff from him that I used during my 38 year law enforcement career. I joined the Border Patrol in 1970 and at one time worked for Gilman who became the Regional Commissioner for INS and Border Patrol in Dallas. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy ordered that the plane not be allowed to depart. I read somewhere that the same plane crashed over the Grand Canyon a few months later.


I am having second thoughts about who allegedly threw the reporter over the fence. It was either Risly or Tom East who later went to prison for shooting his wife. They were both about the same size. Kevin, I believe it was the Border Patrol that shot the tires out on the plane.

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Trish Long is the El Paso Times’ archivist and spends her time in the morgue, where the newspaper keeps its old clippings and photos. View this blog at its new home at http://blogs.elpasotimes.com/morgue/
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