Two men arrested for shooting at Michigan State Police helicopter now facing terrorism charge

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FLINT, MI –  Two Flint men face terrorism charges for allegedly firing gunshots at a Michigan State Police helicopter as it hovered over a nature area while troopers were investigating reported gunfire.

Authorities said the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. on October 3, in the Happy Hollow Nature Area near Powers High School in Flint.

The helicopter was assisting Flint police officers and deputies from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office who were responding to the area of Miller and Hammerberg Road for a report of shots fired when the chopper came under fire, according to the Michigan State Police (MSP).

Troopers in the helicopter located two men on a bridge who were passing a firearm back and forth.

As the helicopter patrolled above the area and monitored them, one of the men pointed the firearm along a creek, firing several shots, before handing the weapon to the second person, according to police.

The second man then pointed the firearm at the helicopter and fired at least five shots at it, officials said.

As it was fired upon, the helicopter’s crew guided police on the ground to the men. They arrested both suspects and recovered a firearm.

David Cox and Jeremy Engelman, both 26, were arraigned Tuesday on charges of assault with intent to murder, terrorism, attempted malicious destruction of police property, and using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

If convicted, each faces up to life in prison for the assault with intent to murder charge and for the terrorism charge.

A judge ordered the two men held at the Genesee County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said video taken from the helicopter shows the two men pointing at the aircraft and shooting at it.

“This is kind of a unique case for us. I have never actually had a case where someone on the ground was shooting a gun at an aircraft, be it an airplane or a police helicopter.

“If you watch the video from the helicopter, you can see these two individuals pointing the gun right at the helicopter and shooting, and the pilot says right along with the video, now they are shooting at the aircraft.”

The prosecutor said that the terrorism charges were warranted:

“Domestic terrorism, because in the statute, it says flat out, if you attempt to intimidate the police, well I don’t know of a situation could be more intimidating than firing a gun at a police helicopter.

“I don’t think there was any doubt they were intending to shoot up at the helicopter, now whether they knew the projectile could travel that far, is something I don’t know, but we don’t have to prove that.”

The helicopter was not damaged in the incident, and no officers were injured.

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Hero state trooper rescues five people from crashed fire crew helicopter

June 21, 2021

 

TOWNSEND, MT – On June 15th, a fire helicopter containing five crew members slated to help with combatting the Deep Creek Canyon fire earlier in June reportedly crashed while attempting to land. 

According to reports, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper along with a Broadwater County deputy and another man helped rescue the five crew members from the fiery chopper. 

During the evening of June 15th, residents between Townsend and White Sulphur Springs were in the midst of being evacuated, as the Deep Creek Canyon fire at the time had burned over 2,000 acres. 

At the time, a Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter containing five crew members to help address the fire was coming in for a landing in the area. 

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa happened to be nearby and was observing the landing, however, officials say strong winds caused the chopper to crash. 

The helicopter was said to have tipped on its side and caught fire. 

Trooper Villa was alongside a Broadwater County deputy and another man, who all sprang into action and helped three five crew members escape the burning helicopter. 

Firefighters took it from there to quell the flames from the crashed helicopter. 

Only one person was said to have suffered minors injuries during the incident. 

While details were still unfolding regarding the crash, Governor Greg Gianforte wrote the following on Twitter, addressing the matter: 

I’m monitoring the situation involving a DNRC helicopter on the Deep Creek Fire. I’m relieved to hear that all involved are getting the necessary medical attention. Please join me for praying for them and our first responders across the state.”

Trooper Villa had the following to say about the incident, highlighting that things could’ve turned out far worse had they not been nearby:

“I’m just glad that me and the deputy were right there when it happened and able to get everybody out quickly. All things considered it was a lot better than it could have been.”

With regard to the Deep Creek Canyon fire, the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office announced on June 19th that the evacuation order had been lifted but an evacuation warning was still in place: 

“In regards to the Deep Creek Canyon Fire. The evacuation order has been lifted, however there is still an evacuation warning in place. With the lift of this order we still ask folks to be cautious, and on high alert we want everyone to stay safe during this time, as we all know things can change quickly.

“Also Hwy 12 East is open but PLEASE SLOW DOWN, speeds are posted at 35 mph, but we have people traveling through there that are speeding. We have multiple first responders, and crews working through there, and their safety is priority. Thank you for your cooperation.”

According to the June 20th update from the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, the fire is at a 15% containment and has so far consumed three residential homes and four structures. 

The fire has resulted in three injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

 

 

 

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