Kentucky: Travelers who made it to Louisville International Airport, Kentucky to board their flight reflected that the scene resembled one from a movie.
Passengers told Fox affiliate WDRB that when they heard their pilot had been seized at the airport early morning on Saturday, they assumed he'd been drinking alcohol on the job.
"It was quite tense," Frances Wise, a passenger, told the station. "You could say the employees knew something was not right."
More than three years after three homicides in a small town in Kentucky, Christian Richard Martin, an American Airlines pilot, was arrested in connection with the deaths, authorities said.
Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Saturday that Martin, 51, was arrested in the murders of Pamela Phillips, Calvin and Edward Dansereau, who were found dead in Pembroke, Kentucky back in 2015. Martin, was taken into custody at Louisville International Airport on three counts of murder, as well as counts of burglary, arson and tampering with physical evidence.
"There will be a lot of steps taken from here on," Beshear told reporters. But, he added, the indictment shows what can happen "when you never stop seeking for justice, when you never give up on a case."
American Airlines said that it was "deeply saddened" to know about the allegations against Martin, who has been with them since January 2018. The airline said that he underwent a background check and "recurrent vetting" but that there was no "criminal history that would disqualify him from being a commercial pilot."
After the indictment, American Airlines said Martin has been suspended.
"We have a commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members, and we will provide assistance for the investigation." according to the statement.
It was unclear whether Martin has an attorney in the case.
In November 2015, Calvin Phillips was found dead due to a gunshot wound in his cellar in Pembroke, which is close to the Tennessee border, police said. His wife, Pamela, and a neighbor, Dansereau, were also found dead in a nearby field inside Pamela's car, which had been burned, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities have not released the reason, but radio station WKDZ-FM revealed last year that Calvin Phillips was a potential witness in an old case against Martin.
The victims' family said in a statement that the three were "brutally extinguished - beyond recognition from family."
"Daily, we are haunted by what was done to them and even further so that someone was still free to do as they wish, beyond the civility of mankind," they said in the statement. "We are ecstatic with this positive step towards resolution for people we dearly love; Cal and Pam Phillips and Ed Dansereau, and the hundreds of family, friends, co-workers, neighbours and others deeply affected by their brutal end.
"We expect justice in court, and we look forward to the verdict to bring an end to this terror, and a fresh start in the healing process."
Beshear said he agreed to appoint a special prosecutor two years ago after Matt, Phillips son met him and told him that he was concerned that the murder investigation was not moving forward. Beshear said he assured the family members that they will do everything they can.
In the airport on Saturday morning, the mood was tense and passengers were bewildered and confused.
Ashley Martin (no relation to the suspect), Wise’s daughter called it "startling."
"It's scary to know this happened so long ago, and they're just now getting around to catching the guy," she told the station.
"I was definitely stressed, and felt like it was a little chaotic and unorganized. The workers ... you could tell they were anxious. You could feel that energy. You could feel the tension from flight attendants."
Martin, who lives in North Carolina, is being held without bond at the Christian County Detention Center in Kentucky, where he is awaiting trial. A trial date has not been set.