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2 men arrested in Hemet police attacks; 2 suspects remain at large, authorities say [Updated]

Hemet police arrested two suspects, one a convicted felon, for seven violent attacks against the police agency that have put this small Riverside County city on edge for months, authorities announced Saturday.

Nicholas John Smit, 40, of Hemet, was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and building a potentially deadly booby trap and targeting law enforcement officers. Smit already faces charges for cultivating marijuana, the result of an earlier arrest made by Hemet police, said Chief Richard Dana.
Authorities discussed few details about the case. However, Dana said Smit made it clear that he didn't like the police before invoking his right to remain silent.

"He made a couple statements that made us believe that he didn't like us very much," said Dana, who announced the arrests at a Saturday news conference with Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff Jr. and agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Also arrested was Steven Hansen, 36, of Homeland, who was taken into custody on a parole violation.

[Updated at 3:36 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Smit as Smith.]

Dana said 78 officers, deputies and federal agents raided the two suspects' homes Friday. Two other suspects remain at large, he said. Police are still trying to determine whether the two men are connected with any area gangs. Investigators believe a local white supremacist gang may have been behind the attacks.

"The community is relieved," said Hemet Mayor Eric McBride. "They wanted to see closure on this, and now we have some progress."

The arrest comes less than a week after a suspected arson fire damaged a Hemet Police Department building that housed evidence gathered from those attacks as well from thousands of pending and closed criminal cases. Investigators suspected the fire, reported June 28 at 2:23 a.m, was among the attacks that have the put the police agency on edge since the beginning of the year.

In January, the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force discovered that a natural gas line had been diverted into their office, filling it with fumes, although the gas never ignited. A month later, a booby trap -- a so-called zip gun -- fired a bullet at an officer when he opened a security gate.

In March, a suspicious device was attached to a gang enforcement officer's unmarked vehicle; two weeks later, four city code-enforcement trucks were torched in the Hemet City Hall parking lot.

In April, an early morning fire damaged the Hemet police shooting range. And in June, authorities found a vintage military rocket on the roof of a nearby market, pointed in the direction of the police station.

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown visited the area two months ago and, with Riverside County Dist. Atty. Rod Pacheco, offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attacks.

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department joined with the Hemet police in a special task force investigating the attacks.

-- Phil Willon
Comments () | Archives (10)

So the arrest and harassment of Vagos MC was totally unjustified. Haven't heard an apology from either Riverside county LE or from that idiot Jerry Brown. I'm not really surprised. Only a matter of time before law enforcement is wearing jackboots over there.

Wow no Mexican involment. What? Other races can commit crimes and be a burden on the taxpayer not just illegals,no way!Check their status and deport back to Europe regardless!

the supremacist groups and the biker gangs need to be taken out.

They thought it was the VAGOS gang. As I said before the VAGOS do not have the level of sophisticated talents too pull something like this. It also seems like neither did the people whom they have in custody. Not one cop was killed. Glad to see it was not the cops attacking them selves. Well in a down economy how else can get federal funds? Create a situation just like this one.

Been 25 years since I lived in Hemet..... still full of losers and low lifes. Hope they put these jerks away for a very long time.

Do you really think that the ATF, Hemet police & the FBI have the right people this time. I think that all of the above owe the VAGO'S MC a written apology on the front page of the newspaper and reimburse the tax payers all the money that was wasted on the Vago's MC investigation. I think that everyone should know how the ATF operates the so called uncover agents. In the Outlaw Biker cases you get to see all the raids on TV with everyone going to jail and big talk from ATF, But check what happens after a few months or years after the big dog & pony show. Most of the brothers are released because of a bad investigation and some things put on paper were not true. Just read about the case (last raid) against the MONGOLS MC. The Federal Judge called the ATF's paper work and verbally misstated (Lied) the facts about the case to her.The MONGOLS won that round. I hope that people wake up and see that not every thing that you hear from the federal Goverment or Law Enforement is true...
Come on people wake up and pull your head out of your ******

To my brothers Much L&R


Blame the white guy. Everyone one knows the illegal aliens of Hemet are behind this

Recently I drove by the burned out Hemet evidence warehouse. The access openings at the front of the building are covered with plywood.

Whoever committed these crimes against the people of Hemet needs to be caught and prosecuted. If in fact the police have the right group my hat goes off and I say “good job“.

Thank you to the good officers that work to protect us here in Hemet.


I've seen that all along, Hemet P.D. has mostly arrested White Supremecists for the attacks on their Police Department. It really makes one wonder why White Supremists are attacking Hemet P.D., and not Racists from other Ethnic groups. It leaves some to the imagination. I know for a fact that The Catholic Church is very strong in Southern California, and they support illegal immigrants that subsequently smuggle illegal drugs into the U.S. I can forsee in the future many Police Departments within California being taken over by Sheriff's, and in worst case scenerio, the U.S. Military due to the ineffectiveness of Police Officers to maintain the peace, for various reasons. I hope the punishment's for these fellow Americans ( that are accused of doing wrong for some reason or another) is just, and falls within the guidelines of the 8th amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. Is it really necessary to imprison somebody for 50 years? Is it cruel and unusual punishment? I don't know.

Geez, you mean it was the Vagos after all. Imagine that. Bad cops, no donut. When is the apologies coming from Jerry Brown and the Hemet PD?


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