Man arrested after allegedly shooting at Ventura County law enforcement helicopter

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Joshua Chimarusti is shown in a photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office on July 23, 2021.

Joshua Chimarusti is shown in a photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on July 23, 2021.

A man was arrested this week after he allegedly fired a handgun at a Ventura County Firehawk helicopter, officials said Friday.

The incident was reported about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday while authorities were conducting nighttime training operations in the Lake Casitas area, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a news release.

“The pilot of Copter 4 took evasive action and identified a suspect vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed,” according to the news release.

The pilot followed the suspect vehicle into the Oak View area, where the driver stopped in the 200 block of Olive Street.

The driver, identified as 44-year-old Joshua Chimarusti, then exited the vehicle and allegedly fired more shots at the helicopter.

Chimarusti ran away, prompting an extensive search involving investigative units, police dogs, SWAT and another helicopter, authorities said.

Chimarusti was eventually found and arrested early the following morning. The gun allegedly used in both shootings was found and seized as evidence.

The Oak View resident was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a firearm upon a peace officer or firefighter, 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, officials said.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The helicopter was not damaged during the incident.

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