Flare Nearly Hits Helicopter in El Cajon

Teen charged with felony count of shooting at occupied aircraft

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    A teenager was arrested Thursday afternoon after allegedly shooting a flare gun at a San Diego County Sheriff's helicopter in El Cajon, its flare explosion just missing the aircraft by an estimated 30 feet, El Cajon police said.

    The 17-year-old male reportedly fired the flare at a sheriff's helicopter at 2:30 p.m., as it flew northbound near West Main and Sunshine while preparing for its approach into Gillespie Field.

    The flare "could have caused a fire on the aircraft or entered the cockpit and incapacitated the pilot," El Cajon police Lt. J.D. Arvan said.

    The sheriff's pilots followed the flare gun's smoke trail to the suspect and relayed his location to El Cajon police. The suspect fled, and officers pursued him to a nearby apartment complex in the 200 block of West Cypress Avenue, Arvan said.

    The suspect, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was charged with one felony count for shooting at an occupied aircraft.

    The flare gun was recovered, and the teenager was transported to Juvenile Hall.