HOUSTON, TX – Law Enforcement Today has just learned that the suspect who shot at the Houston Police choppers assisting with the first HPD helicopter crash was an illegal immigrant, according to court documents.
Josue Daniel Claros-Trajedo is a 19-year old Honduran national. After a HPD helicopter, 75-Fox, crashed on May 2, two other HPD choppers responded to assist with lighting for the ground units attempting to free the two officers trapped inside the crashed chopper.
— Houston Police Officers' Union (@HPOUTX) May 8, 2020
The crash unfortunately claimed the life of 35-year-old Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox and seriously injured the pilot, 35-year-old Senior Officer Chase Cormier, whose injuries included a broken back.
Claros-Trajedo fired five shots from two locations at the backup helicopters on scene for the crash.
Prosecutor Sean Teare said:
“We have surveillance video showing him [Claros-Trajedo] firing at the helicopters, yes. That’s unacceptable.”
The downed helicopter had originally responded to a call of two bodies in a bayou, although no bodies were ever reported to have been found.
There were reports of gunshots being fired at Knox and Cormier’s helicopter prior to the crash, and Police Chief Art Acevedo said that six people have been arrested. It’s not clear if Claros-Trajedo is one of those six.
Additionally, it’s not believed that the cause of the crash was gunshots, but Chief Acevedo has said they aren’t ruling anything out and no cause has been determined.
There were several videos captured by onlookers on the ground that showed the helicopter hovering in the air, when it started to spin out of control, losing altitude quickly.
The chopper crashed into the leasing office of the Biscayne Apartments in the 17000 block of Imperial Valley, but Cormier was able to avoid hitting any of the apartments, which undoubtedly saved countless lives.
This is Houston Police Officer's Jason Knox and Chase Cormier. Jason was killed Friday night when their helicopter went down and Chase suffered a broken back. Please pray for Jason's family as their suffering with this terrible loss and please pray for Chase with his recovery. pic.twitter.com/On5AgZwQXT
— Jeff Brieden (@sheffery) May 3, 2020
“According to court documents, Claros-Trajedo fired the firearm “close in time and proximity to when an HPD helicopter crashed into an apartment building.”
“Acevedo said LifeFlight also reported gunshots while responding to the deadly helicopter crash. While the surviving officer was being loaded into an ambulance, Claros-Trajedo fired five more shots into the air, per the court documents.
“Claros-Trajedo hid firearms in an air vent in his apartment after he was seen, according to court documents. Officials said he admitted to discharging his firearm in an upward direction while drunk.”
Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s original report.
Police say that a 19-year-old Honduran national was arrested for discharging a firearm numerous times toward police helicopters that were responding to the fatal helicopter crash that Law Enforcement Today told you about on May 2nd.
— Raymond E. Foster (@policeofficer) May 9, 2020
The crash occurred some time before 2:00 a.m. on May 2nd. A Houston Police Department helicopter that hosted two officers plummeted to the ground, killing one of the officer onboard.
While authorities are uncertain as to what may have caused the helicopter to crash, it was said that it killed 35-year-old Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox. The pilot, 35-year-old Senior Officer Chase Cormier, was critically injured as well and is currently at a rehab clinic for his injuries.
Great news! Just received word from Officer Chase Cormier that he will be transferred from Memorial Hermann to TIRR this afternoon, as he continues to push forward in his recovery from the helicopter accident. TIRR is the best rehab hospital in the world, Chase is in good hands.
— Joe Gamaldi (@JoeGamaldi) May 8, 2020
When two other police choppers from the HPD were responding to the crash, a series of gunshots began to ring off in the direction of the responding aerial units. A radio transmission at the time stated the following:
“Shots fired. Shots fired… we got a security guard that says people are actually shooting at the helicopters that are responding here.”
Authorities say that Josue Daniel Claros-Trajedo was the man responsible for shooting toward police helicopters responding to the scene of the wreckage.
Prosecutor Sean Teare commented on some of the evidence obtained that allegedly implicates Claros-Trajedo as the individual responsible:
“We have surveillance video showing [Claros-Trajedo] firing at the helicopters.”
Man accused of firing gun at helicopters responding to a police helicopter crash in Houston, Texas https://t.co/FKsXPIZkgX
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) May 9, 2020
Investigators say that the suspect fired at least five rounds toward the helicopters from two different areas. Court records indicate that the suspect had firearms hidden within the air vent of his apartment, which police recovered. Police suspect they now have the one used in the crime in their possession.
At the time of his arrest, Claros-Trajedo reportedly told investigators that he was firing his weapon into the air while intoxicated.
The suspect is now being held on a $100,000 bond. In Texas, a conviction of aggravated assault on a public servant can land someone in prison from 5 to 99 years per count.
While luckily no one was injured during the gunfire, a conviction against Claros-Trajedo could give the accused a healthy amount of time to reflect on why indiscriminately firing a weapon in the air is always a terrible idea.
Earlier this month, we reported on the crash in question that took the life of TFO Jason Knox . Here’s the original report we ran in case you missed it.
(Original May 2nd report)
Police have now released the identity of the officers involved in an overnight helicopter crash that left one dead and another fighting for his life.
It happened at an apartment complex in north Houston, according to police.
Chief Art Acevedo told media outlets that Jason Knox was the tactical flight officer involved in the crash who later died at the hospital.
We’re told his father is Houston councilmember at-large Mike Knox.
Acevedo described Jason Knox as a “good man.”
“If someone would have told me, a few hours later, we would have an aircraft down,” Acevedo said. “We would lose a really good man. I would have said no way.”
Houston police are also asking the public to pray for senior police officer Chase Cormier, who was airlifted to Memorial Hermann hospital and underwent surgery Saturday morning.
He’s currently listed in critical condition.
“We are hopeful that he will survive,” Acevedo said.
Houston Police say that Cormier was sworn in as an HPD officer in July 2006, and is assigned to the Air & Marine Division.
Mayor Sylvester Turner held a news conference at the Texas Medical Center Saturday and described it as a “bad morning”.
“I ask for the city of Houston to continue to lift up both families, especially lift up the family of the police officer that has died… At the same time, lift up the entire HPD family.”
The aircraft went down just before 2 a.m. at the Greenspoint apartment complex, in the 17000 block of Imperial Valley near Benmar.
It reportedly involved a crime scene unit that was investigating a murder case.
Someone captured video footage from the ground, showing the aircraft starting to spin out of control before crashing.
According to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, it was flying over a bayou where there were reports of bodies in the water when it went down.
Houston firefighters rushed out to free the two officers from the wreckage.
“They responded right before 2 a.m. and within minutes we got reports from the Houston Forensic Science Center crime scene unit that was working a murder scene at the 17000 block of Imperial Valley that our helicopter had gone down,” Acevedo said.
— City of Houston (@HoustonTX) May 2, 2020
Firefighters “worked feverishly to extricate and cut the pilots out. They literally had to cut the pilots out of the wreckage,” Acevedo said.
Just before 6 a.m. local time, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the death of one officer and said the second who was on board is in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
“We need prayers for these officers,” Acevedo said.
We’re told the helicopter crashed into a clubhouse building at that apartment complex.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 2, 2020
According to Acevedo, the pilot managed to avoid hitting the apartment buildings. He said it undoubtedly would have resulted in more people being killed.
“The wreckage was pretty significant,” Acevedo said. “There were no flames involved and that’s been a blessing. And the silver lining. The other silver lining was the pilot was able to avoid the apartment buildings.”
Nobody inside the apartment complex or on the ground was hurt.
“They were able to avoid going into the actual apartment buildings where people were sleeping and were able to, basically, they clipped a part of the clubhouse,” Acevedo said.
It’s unclear at this point what caused the accident, but according to Acevedo, the department is going to stop any more flights until further notice.
We do know that during the investigation, at approximately 3 a.m., shots were fired nearby. Officers arrested three people – but we’re now told it appears to be unrelated to the crash.
We’re told that the Houston Police Department will be conducting the investigation along with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Agency… and it’s being approached as a homicide investigation.
“We have lost one of our own,” Acevedo said. “We won’t leave any stone unturned as part of our investigation until the cause of this crash. We will look at it from a criminal standpoint to make sure there was no criminal activity that led to this tragic incident.”
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