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El Cajon teen held in shooting flare gun at sheriff's helicopter

June 30, 2011 |  8:28 pm

A 17-year-old El Cajon boy was arrested Thursday on suspicion of firing a flare gun at the San Diego County Sheriff's Department helicopter as it was preparing to land, officials said.

The helicopter was flying over El Cajon, preparing to land at Gillespie Field, when it was fired upon by a flare gun. The flare exploded about 30 feet from the helicopter, the Sheriff's Department said.

The helicopter pilot followed the smoke trail and directed El Cajon police to a suspect hiding in an apartment complex, according to an account by the Sheriff's Department. The teenager was arrested on suspicion of a felony charge of shooting at an occupied aircraft.

He was taken to Juvenile Hall; his name was not released.

--Tony Perry in San Diego