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North Idaho man charged with shooting helicopter

LEWISTON, Idaho — A North Idaho man who police say shot four times and twice hit a Lewiston-based helicopter working on a controlled burn in Shoshone County has been charged with felony interfering with or destruction of an aircraft.

The Lewiston Tribune reported today that 58-year-old John Ernest Ross of Fernwood is scheduled to appear in 1st District Court in Wallace on July 10.

Court records say Ross initially denied shooting at the helicopter in the fall of 2010, but later said he probably did but had been drinking and couldn’t remember.

Authorities say the pilot recognized from his experience of flying helicopters in Vietnam that he was being fired at and pulled out of the area and landed.

Witness descriptions matched Ross and described him as intoxicated.