Four gang members charged in sheriff’s helicopter shooting

By Larry Altman Staff Writer
Article Launched: 05/28/2008 10:41:53 AM PDT

A reputed street gang member has been charged with shooting at a helicopter as it hovered over the unincorporated area near Carson last week, authorities said today.

Martin Gudino, 23, was arrested Thursday and charged with shooting at an inhabited aircraft and attempted murder of a peace officer, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

He was held on $2.25 million bail.

Three teenage gang members also were arrested as suspected accessories to the crime.

The four were among seven people initially detained following the shooting.

Gudino allegedly shot at the chopper about 11 p.m. May 21 as deputies searched for a robbery suspect. The chopper, hovering about 500 feet in the air, was hit twice.

After hearing the strike, the pilot made a precautionary landing at the nearby Carson sheriff’s station. He and the deputy aboard were not hurt.

Carson gang detectives opened an investigation that led them to a house at Milton Street and Berendo Avenue.

A special weapons team used a battering ram to force open a garage. Seven suspects were detained.

In addition, a specially trained police dog tracked the scent from shell casings found on the ground to the location where the suspects had hidden, Whitmore said.

“The dog is specifically trained in the scent of casings,” Whitmore said.

Carson sheriff’s Lt. Jim Thornton said the motive for the shooting remains unknown. Gudino wasn’t talking.

“The guy didn’t share why,” Thornton said.

The helicopter was assisting in a search for suspects involved in a robbery at nearby Alpine Village.

It was unknown if Gudino had any connection to those suspects, but it did not appear the helicopter shooting had any connection, Whitmore said.

The specialized Crimes Against Police Officers unit will prosecute Gudino and the other suspects. Each also will face charges that they committed the crimes for the benefit of their gang.

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