A 20-year-old man was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for firing a shot that struck a Los Angeles police helicopter while it was in the air.
Danny Anthony Lopez, who pleaded no contest Aug. 7 to two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a peace officer, was sentenced by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz.
The helicopter -- an A-Star American Eurocopter -- was struck shortly after 6 a.m. on Easter Sunday 2011 by a round from a high-powered rifle over Saticoy Street and Densmore Avenue in Van Nuys. The bullet pierced the chopper's fuel tank and caused it to lose power, but the crew managed to make it back safely to nearby Van Nuys Airport. See more:
- LAPD Chopper Makes Emergency Landing at Van Nuys Airport After Taking Gunfire
Police said Lopez, who was 18 at the time, was upset over the recent death of a friend, and they credited his relatives for confronting him after the shots were fired and subduing him.
As a result of his plea to the assault charges, four other counts against Lopez were dismissed.