Attempted Murder Charges Filed in Hemet Police Attacks

The series of attacks started New Year's Eve when someone rerouted a natural gas line into a police building

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    Riverside County prosecutors Wednesday filed attempted murder charges against against a man suspected in a series of attacks on Hemet police and county anti-gang officers since the end of last year. (Published Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010)

    Riverside County prosecutors Wednesday filed attempted murder charges against against a man suspected in a series of attacks  on Hemet police and county anti-gang officers since the end of last year.

    Nicholas Smit, 39, of Hemet, was charged with three counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco said Smit was also charged Wednesday with making a booby trap, possession of a zip gun and conspiracy to kill a police officer.

    Attempted Murder Charges Filed in Hemet Police Attacks

    [LA] Attempted Murder Charges Filed in Hemet Police Attacks
    Riverside County prosecutors Wednesday filed attempted murder charges against against a man suspected in a series of attacks on Hemet police and county anti-gang officers since the end of last year. (Published Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010)

    Smit and Steven Hanson, 36, of Homeland,  were arrested Friday. They were taken into custody Friday. following a multi-agency  investigation that included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and  Explosives and the FBI.

    Hansen also was charged with conspiracy and one count of attempted murder.

    Two other suspects are still being sought, and the $200,000 reward for  information in the case remains active, according to Hemet police Chief Richard  Dana.

    On Tuesday, a suspicious device was discovered attached to a Hemet  police cruiser parked at the City Yard, 3077 Industrial Ave., according to  Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart. He said the area was evacuated, and Riverside  County sheriff's bomb technicians secured the instrument.

    "This device could have been attached to the vehicle at any time in the  last 60 days," the lieutenant said. "Investigators believe they have the  suspects in these attacks in custody and that this device was simply not  discovered until today."

    Authorities believe a June 28 arson fire at the Hemet police evidence  storage facility was the work of the same individuals responsible for six  previous incidents.

    The blaze caused significant damage to the building and its contents,  including evidence being held for various criminal cases, Wisehart said.

    On June 4, someone tried to launch a bazooka rocket with a non-explosive  head at the Hemet police station, but the engine fizzled out, and the rocket  landed in a garbage pile, igniting it.

    On April 12, a fire was lit at the Hemet police shooting range.

    On March 23, four city code enforcement trucks were torched in the Hemet  City Hall parking lot.

    On March 5, a member of the Hemet-San Jacinto Gang Task Force found a  pipe bomb dangling from his unmarked patrol unit when he pulled into a gas  station.

    On Feb. 23, a member of the task force opened a gate at the task force's  headquarters and was nearly struck by a bullet discharged by a homemade ``zip  gun,'' rigged to shoot when the gate moved.

    The string of attacks started New Year's Eve, when someone rerouted a  natural gas line into the task force's headquarters building, setting the stage  for a potential explosion.

    The Hemet City Council authorized the department in April to supply  personnel with all means necessary to combat the attacks and protect  themselves.

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