Phillips teen charged for Grand Island airport standoff

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 3:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A Phillips man is charged with felony theft and a weapons charge after a bizarre series of events Monday and Tuesday in Kearney and Grand Island.

Tyler Caudill, 19, is charged with felony attempted theft and felony possession of a deadly weapon. A judge Wednesday set bond at $250,000 and a preliminary hearing for June 4. If convicted on both counts, Caudill could get up to 53 years in prison.

Police arrested Caudill Tuesday afternoon at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island. Police said a private owner found Caudill passed out in the cabin of a jet parked on the tarmac. Court records indicate the jet was owned by Menards. The owner took a rifle found near Caudill and then called police. Grand Island police shut down the CNRA while they talked with Caudill who at first refused to leave the plane. He was seen trying to manipulate the jet’s controls. Eventually, the tactical response team and police K-9s were called, and a chemical irritant was released into the plane to get him to come out. GIPD said he came out with his hands up about an hour and a half later.

“It was a little wild,” said Grand Island Police Capt. Dean Elliott said Tuesday. “He’s obviously trespassing. He’s on federal ground. He brought firearms onto federal grounds,” Elliott said. “Because he’s manipulating switches, putting on headphones and for all intents and purposes what we can tell, trying to manipulate a plane, we’re looking at potential theft of an aircraft as well.”

Court records identified Caudill’s weapon as a Ruger AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle with a multi-round clip.

Police were looking into whether Caudill was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

GIPD said they became aware of the 19-year-old after an incident that happened Monday at Kearney High.

Kearney police learned that Caudill tried to enter Kearney High School asking to speak to a student there. He was turned away.

On Tuesday the Hamilton County Sheriff reported that Caudill had driven from his Phillips home with a family car and a rifle. Kearney police and Kearney Public School officials put Kearney High School into “Secure Lockout” status for the most of the day Tuesday. That status was lifted after Caudill’s arrest in Grand Island.

Grand Island Police said the The Air National Guard Base at the Grand Island airport reported a suspicious vehicle Tuesday morning believed to have been driven by Caudill, but the vehicle was gone before police could respond.

Tyler Caudill, 19, face felony weapons and theft charges.
Tyler Caudill, 19, face felony weapons and theft charges.(KSNB)

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