AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A man who fired at a Georgia State Patrol helicopter that he didn’t like flying near his house has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison.
Terry Kielisch, 56, was sentenced this week on federal charges of assaulting a person assisting an officer of the U.S. and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia said in a statement Thursday.
He was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release following his 183-month prison term.
“When Terry Kielisch aimed and fired a high-powered rifle at a police helicopter, he callously endangered the lives of the officers aboard the aircraft and of any people on the ground,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.
Prosecutors said that a Georgia State Patrol trooper was piloting the helicopter in March 2019 with a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigator as a passenger when Kielisch shot at the aircraft using a .308-caliber Remington 770. Neither the trooper nor the investigator were injured.
The helicopter was providing support in a search for suspects accused of drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession in Georgia and South Carolina, authorities said.
Kielisch was not the target of the operation, but told investigators he fired at the helicopter because he did not like it flying near his home in Blythe, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Augusta.