An Oak View man has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon as well as shooting at an aircraft after firing several rounds from a handgun at a helicopter July 21.
Joshua James Chimarusti, 44, was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies July 22 after a manhunt that began Wednesday evening and ended Thursday morning.
None of the crew of Ventura County Firehawk Copter 4‑one of the county’s two new firefighting helicopters‑were hurt when they were fired on at about 9:15 p.m. while training near Lake Casitas.
After taking evasive action, the helicopter pilot spotted a vehicle speeding away and followed it to the 200 block of Olive Street in Oak View, where the driver stopped.
After getting out of the vehicle the driver fired several more rounds at the helicopter and then ran away, triggering the manhunt.
Deputies from several patrol and investigative units, including a small SWAT team, dog handlers and Ventura County Copter 3, searched the area and cornered Chimarusti several hours later.
The handgun Chimarusti used was seized for evidence and Copter 4 was not damaged. Chimarusti has been jailed at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility for attempted murder, assault with a firearm upon a peace officer or fire fighter, shooting at an occupied aircraft, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, prohibited person in possession of a firearm and carrying a loaded unregistered firearm.