LOS ANGELES — A Hollywood man was arrested Thursday for reportedly operating a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter, which forced an emergency landing two months ago, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, was taken into custody by FBI agents. He is charged 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, KTLA reported.
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.
Hernandez was expected to make an initial federal court appearance Thursday afternoon.