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Police say love triangle led to murder of employee at El Paso airport; arrest made

UPDATE, Dec. 6: A love triangle led to a murder last month of an airline employee in a parking lot at El Paso International Airport, police said Monday in announcing the arrest of a suspect.

Bernard Walter Christmann, 50, is being held in the downtown jail for the murder of 49–year-old Juan Anzaldo, a Southwest Airlines worker who was killed at the end of his shift on the night of Nov. 19.

Investigators said Anzaldo was killed as he stood by his car in the employee parking lot; authorities now indicated the cause of death was blunt force trauma - but they didn't elaborate.

"The investigation revealed that Anzaldo was in a dating relationship with Christimann’s wife," police said in a statement about the motive.

Christman's bond was set at $1.25 million bond per a judge's order after he was arrested at his home on Friday.

(Bernard Walter Christmann, charged with murder.)

UPDATE, Nov. 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, Nov. 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, Nov. 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.

Article Topic Follows: ABC-7 Alert Center

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