BCSO chopper pilot recalls dangerous encounter with man in bosque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A man is accused of trying to throw a crowbar and a large stick at a BCSO chopper as it helped fight 12 arson fires in the bosque last month.
Police ended up arresting Cameron Agee who is charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.
BCSO Undersheriff Larry Koren showed us how he was picking up water from the Rio Grande to drop on the bosque fires last month when things took a dangerous turn.
“There’s a homeless guy out here along the river’s edge. He just tried to throw a crowbar at me,” said Koren in the chopper video.
He says he circled back around to pick up water from a different location in the river when the man emerged from the bushes again.
“The homeless guy’s still down there, pretty agitated this time around. I tried to create some distance between he and I. But he came at the helicopter with a big stick this time. Didn’t throw it but he was getting ready to,” Koren said.
After that, Koren says he called off the water drops for his own safety.
“I was absolutely frightened. I was terrified. I shudder to think what might have happened had he struck the helicopter,” he said.
Koren says the man was only about a stone’s throw away from the chopper on the river bank and could have easily hit it as it scooped up water with its bucket.
“The fact that he could have thrown that crowbar or that stick and hit a vital component on the helicopter, such as the tail rotor or main rotor, it could have had a catastrophic outcome. We could have ended up crashing,” he said.
Later in the day, a different pilot returned in the chopper looking for the homeless man, who got very upset when they found him at his camp in the bosque.
“He has taken his clothing completely off.”
BCSO chopper video shows the man dropping his pants, making vulgar gestures, pretending to shoot at the chopper and then throwing what looks like two more crowbars at it.
Police arrive and arrest him. Koren says the homeless man not only endangered him but also interfered with the firefight.
“We’re out there trying to protect some of that wildlife and wilderness area along the bosque. And we see basically the bosque being trashed, burned, and now interference with public safety operations,” said Koren.
Agee has been released from custody, but he has another court appearance in July.