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Harrisburg Man Sentenced for Endangering Police Helicopter Pilots

December 1, 2011


Jonathan Butler, 28, of Harrisburg, PA, was sentenced today to 171 months in prison for interference with, and attempted interference with, a person operating an aircraft and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in connection with shooting at aPhiladelphia Police helicopter.

Butler was charged with endangering the safety of Philadelphia Police Department Lieutenant Anthony Ginaldi and Officer Christian Hochstuhl on July 25, 2008. The Lieutenant and Officer were assisting Philadelphia Police Officers on the ground who were pursuing several individuals operating illegal ATV-style vehicles on the street in North Philadelphia. The group drove into a large gathering of people inside the Norman Blumberg Housing Development. Shots then emerged from the ground toward the circling helicopter. The government charged that Butler fired a Glock .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol at the helicopter and helicopter pilots. The gun, recovered from Butler inside an apartment unit near the scene of the shooting, was loaded with 13 live rounds of ammunition.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Petrese Tucker ordered three years of supervised release and ordered Butler to pay a $200 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin R. Brenner and Maureen McCartney.

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