Man convicted of multiple attempts to kill Hemet detective
Nicholas John Smit, 41, used booby traps, a rocket launcher and other weapons to retaliate against Hemet Police Det. Chuck Johnson, who had arrested him 2009 for allegedly selling and possessing drugs, prosecutors said after his Monday conviction.
The attacks, which began in December 2009, included Smit’s attempt to fire a training rocket from the roof of a nearby market, authorities said.
He also attempted to use a loaded and rigged “zip gun” to harm Johnson twice, and placed a board punctured by nails and smeared with fecal matter just outside Johnson’s police car, according to court documents.
Johnson and his gang task force were targeted a total of nine times, the documents stated.
“This was a very unusual case in that this defendant took it upon himself to rain terror down on law enforcement and the community of Hemet,” said John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney.
Johnson retired shortly after the attacks. Jurors spent five days deliberating after a five-week trial, convicting Smit on 11 of 12 felony charges. He faces multiple life terms in prison. The jury reached an impasse on a count of attempting to murder a different police officer. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Photo: Nicholas John Smit. Credit: Hemet Police Department