Man admits shooting helicopter piloted by state trooper



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man told investigators he shot a helicopter piloted by a state trooper because he didn't like it flying near his home, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Terry Kielisch, 56, fired at least two shots at the helicopter in March using a .308-caliber rifle, prosecutors said in a news release. Along with the trooper pilot, a Richmond County Sheriff's Office investigator was riding as a passenger.

The helicopter was part of Operation Gunsmoke, coordinated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It sought people accused of drug trafficking and illegal gun possession in Georgia and South Carolina, prosecutors said.

Kielisch lives in Blythe, about 145 miles east of Atlanta, and wasn't a target of the operation. The helicopter was hit near the fuel lines, causing an estimated $60,000 in damage, but no one was injured and it landed safely, prosecutors said.

“This defendant’s dangerous actions callously threatened the lives of two law-enforcement officers, damaged public property and threatened the safety of all residents near the scene of this incident,” U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in the release. “We are fortunate that no one was injured in this senseless attack.”

Kielisch pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of assaulting a person assisting an officer of the United States and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to court documents.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast