A California man opened fire on a firefighting helicopter that was flying at night.
Local authorities say a California shooter was captured after shooting multiple bullets at a firefighting helicopter practicing at night to combat blazes throughout the state.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office identified the gunman as 44-year-old Joshua James Chimarusti, who now faces charges including attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to a news statement posted on everbridge nixle.
On July 21, Chimarusti is suspected of brandishing a firearm at the Ventura County Firehawk Copter 4 as the crew was conducting midnight training operations in the Lake Casitas region. Chimarusti was speeding towards Oak View when he came to a stop in the 200 block of Olive Street.
Chimarusta allegedly left his vehicle after stopping and fired shots at Copter 4. To avoid injuries and casualties among the crew, the helicopter’s pilot “took evasive action.”
Captain Eric Buschow of the Sheriff’s Office told Law&Crime over the phone that detectives determined Chimarusti fired at the firefighting helicopter on purpose. According to authorities, no injuries were recorded as a result of the shooting, and Copter 4 was not damaged.
Chimarusti was caught on July 22 morning, according to the Sheriff’s Office, after patrol units performed a “extensive search of the area.”
Since the start of the fire season, California has been battling ferocious wildfires. The Dixie Fire, the state’s largest wildfire, prompted the mobilization of approximately 5,500 personnel to fight the blaze.
The expanding Dixie Fire, which has burned more than 198,000 acres and destroyed more than 20 structures since it was first ignited on July 13 near the Cresta Dam in Feather River Canyon, had burned more than 198,000 acres and destroyed more than 20 structures as of Monday morning, according to local newspaper The Sacramento Bee.
The fire has threatened 11,000 infrastructures as well as thousands of additional residential properties in Tehama, Plumas, and Butte counties. At least ten villages in the three vulnerable counties have received mandatory evacuation orders.
According to Reuters, the Fly Fire fused with the Dixie Fire on Monday, forcing the establishment of an evacuation shelter in Susanville city and the declaration of a mandatory evacuation for villages along the eastern side of Lake Almanor.
As of Monday, the combined flames were 22 percent suppressed. In the last seven days, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported 301 new fires around the state.