Delta pilot from Rosemount who was arrested for intoxication before flight sentenced

MSP Airport Police Photo: Gabriel Lyle Schroeder. MSP Airport Police

Ben Rodgers
Updated: October 27, 2020 08:18 PM
Created: October 27, 2020 07:50 PM

A Delta Air Line pilot who was arrested in July 2019 for being intoxicated before his scheduled flight out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, was sentenced Tuesday.

According to court records, Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, of Rosemount, will serve 30 days, the majority of which will be under home detention. He will also be required to spend one weekend in jail.

Schroeder will then be placed under probation, which will include alcohol treatment. 

He pleaded guilty to attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. 

According to the criminal complaint, on July 30 at about 10:30 a.m., airport police detectives and the TSA assistant federal security director to law enforcement were conducting a random joint insider threat screening detail in Terminal 1 Known Crew Member (KCM) entrance. During the detail, a detective observed a Delta Air Lines pilot, later identified as Schroeder, approach the screening area before he stopped abruptly and appeared "surprised." A TSA supervisor approached Schroeder and informed him they were conducting additional screening. He asked Schroeder to place his bag on the table for screening and Schroeder reportedly told the TSA supervisor that he was "not ready" to be screened and left the area. The TSA supervisor reported the pilot's suspicious activity to TSA police due to concern that Schroeder may have had a prohibited item in his bag. 

Rosemount Delta pilot who was arrested for intoxication before flight charged

After two detectives were unsuccessful in locating the pilot, they placed a request with dispatch to have Schroeder tracked by the KCM.

When the detectives returned to the screening area, they found the pilot getting screened. A federal air marshal asked him where he had gone, and Schroeder stated he had gone to the Delta crew room to retrieve his iPad that he had allegedly forgotten. According to the complaint, the federal air marshal said Schroeder appeared very "nervous and deceptive."

Dispatch informed one of the detectives that Schroeder had gone to the restrooms located on the tram level for approximately 27 seconds and that he, in fact, did not enter the Delta crew room. The detective and the federal air marshal entered the restroom and located an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Phillips Vodka in the lone trash container.

Detectives then made contact with the pilot in the cockpit of Airbus A321 at Gate G-3. The complaint states they witnessed the pilot in question seated in the First Officer's chair and operating a console of the aircraft while conversing with the Captain of the aircraft who was seated to Schroeder's left. Detectives noted there were already two passengers on board. After asking the pilot to speak with them, one of the detectives noticed Schroeder "started sweating and shaking." When asked, the pilot said he had last consumed alcohol three days prior. A detective reported he smelled the light odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage emanating from Schroeder's breath.

In response to one of the detective's questions, Schroeder said he did not enter a restroom and that he only went to the Delta crew room. When questioned further by the detectives, he then said he "might" have gone to the restroom, but denied discarding a bottle of alcohol in the trash, according to the criminal complaint.

A horizontal gaze nystagmus test was conducted on the pilot in question and detectives observed a lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes. A breath sample was given and Schroeder's reading was a .065 BAC. He was then placed under arrest and transported to the police operations center.

The complaint goes on to say during his post-Miranda interview, Schroeder claimed ownership of the Phillips vodka bottle and further admitted that he left the screening checkpoint to discard the liquor bottle in the restroom trash because he "was embarrassed to have the bottle" in his possession. He also admitted he had consumed one can of beer and three vodka drinks at his house around 6 p.m. the night prior.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory examined Schroeder's blood sample and determined he had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .027 in his system at 1:10 p.m. The BCA also performed a retrograde extrapolation and determined that at the time the pilot was in the cockpit, he had an ethanol concentration between .04 and .08. 


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