Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:00 pm Post subject: Albuquerque man arrested in helicopter shooting (AP)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Albuquerque man has been accused of shooting at a helicopter belonging to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, injuring the pilot and forcing the aircraft to crash land in a backyard in northwest Albuquerque earlier this month.
Jason Kerns, 29, was arrested late Monday, according to the sheriff's department. He faces charges of assault with intent to commit a violent felony upon an officer, criminal damage to property and tampering with evidence in connection with the Aug. 6 incident.
"The detectives and FBI agents have been working around the clock," Sheriff Darren White said early Tuesday. "This arrest is the result of just incredible police work and we're very pleased."
The sheriff said the department plans to pursue federal charges and that he couldn't release any details about what led to Kerns' arrest or why the helicopter was shot at.
White said Kerns was arrested without incident after he pulled into his driveway just after 10 p.m. Monday. Kerns, who lives near where the helicopter went down, was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center on a $1.8 million cash-only bond.
Trajectory tests determined a bullet struck the helicopter's left pedal, one of the pedals that controls the craft. Had the bullet not hit the pedal, authorities have said it would have struck the pilot in the chest.
Pilot Chris Holland and Deputy Ward Pfefferle were in the copter when it went down just after midnight on a Saturday.
Holland, a veteran of both Gulf wars, suffered shrapnel wounds on his legs, hands and face, including a serious laceration to his left leg and has had surgery. Pfefferle, a nine-year veteran of the force, suffered minor injuries.
White said the two were lucky, but that the road to recovery for Holland would be long.
"He still has a considerable amount of shrapnel in his leg," the sheriff said.
Holland, 43, and Pfefferle, 51, were helping deputies on the ground who were investigating a burglary call when the chopper lost power. It went from 400 feet to the ground in four seconds after Holland initiated what's called an autorotation.
The helicopter tore down some trees and a fence on its way down. It landed about 15 feet from the back wall of a house. The aircraft was destroyed.
When I was down at Rotorvation in Kent the other week, one of the guys there, who was doing a check ride, was telling us that he had to make a precautionary landing due to bad weather, and chose a farmer's field that looked suitable, and where he would leave very little or no damage on landing normally......only to find the farmer storming into the field and pointing a gun at him, AND firing it!!! Fortunately he was too far away for the shot to reach him, and he diverted into another nearby field.
Makes you think!!! _________________ Adam Bailey
PPL(H) - Based Headcorn/Denham/Manston/Panshanger/Shoreham/Brands Hatch
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