Georgia man who shot at police helicopter gets 15-year jail sentence

Terry Kielisch didn't like the chopper flying close to his property

A Georgia man who shot at a police helicopter last year that was being used in an ATF operation got a stiff jail sentence this week.

Terry Kielisch, 56, had already admitted he fired his high-powered rifle at a Georgia State Patrol helicopter because he didn’t like it flying near his home. This week, he was sentenced to 15 years and three months in prison on two counts of assaulting a person assisting an officer of the United States and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Kielisch, a resident of Blythe, will also serve five years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine.

According to Kielisch’s indictment, a GSP trooper was piloting the helicopter March 12, 2019. A Richmond County investigator was in the aircraft. The aircraft was providing support for Operation Gunsmoke, a drug trafficking and illegal firearms sweep in Georgia and South Carolina.

Kielisch, who was not a target in the operation, then shot at the helicopter with a rifle, a .308-caliber Remington 770, and later told investigators he didn’t like it flying near his home.

The helicopter, which was struck near fuel lines, received an estimated $60,000 in damage, but neither the pilot nor the passenger was injured. The craft landed safely.

Operation Gunsmoke resulted in the indictment of 26 people, including associates of a violent criminal street gang, on drugs and firearms charges in Georgia and South Carolina.

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