Hollywood man charged after drone hits LAPD helicopter

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Andrew Hernandez operates a drone at his Hollywood residence on May 28, 2020, in a photo released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Andrew Hernandez operates a drone at his Hollywood residence on May 28, 2020, in a photo released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

A Hollywood man was arrested Thursday for allegedly operating a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter and forced an emergency landing two months ago, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

FBI special agents arrested Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, on a complaint charging him with one count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, a statement said.

The complaint states that police officers responding to a burglary call at a Hollywood pharmacy on Sept. 18 requested air support. The police helicopter was approaching the pharmacy when the pilot saw the drone and unsuccessfully attempted to evade it.

The helicopter’s nose, antenna and bottom cowlings were damaged. The complaint states that if the drone had struck the main rotor it could have brought down the helicopter.

Officers found parts of the drone on the ground and a vehicle that had been damaged as it fell from the sky.

The drone’s camera and memory card led to identification of Hernandez as the operator, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

It wasn’t immediately known if Hernandez has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He was expected to make an initial federal court appearance Thursday afternoon.

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