Hayden Man Arrested for Shooting at Historic Biplane
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 19, 2012|
BIRMINGHAM—Members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force today arrested a Hayden man for shooting at a restored biplane flying over a private airfield beside the man’s home, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley.
Jason Allen McCay, 36, is charged with attempted destruction of an aircraft. The federal law makes it a felony to willfully interfere with or disable, with reckless disregard for the safety of human life, the authorized operation of any aircraft in the United States. McCay appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert R. Armstrong, Jr. this afternoon to be formally informed of the charge. A detention hearing for McCay is scheduled Friday morning.
According to the criminal complaint and affidavit filed against McCay, he was seen shooting a long-gun at an aircraft that was landing on Campbell Field, a private grass airstrip in Hayden, on June 22. McCay attempted to damage, destroy, disable, and wreck the plane, the complaint charges.
The aircraft was a restored 1943 Boeing Stearman Biplane. It was being flown on test flights over Campbell Field, which was built in 1963 by Fred Campbell, who owns the plane. About 20 witnesses were present at the field on June 22 in celebration of the historic plane being restored to flight standards, according to the affidavit by a federal air marshal and member of the joint task force.
On the third test flight that day, witnesses heard several gunshots as the plane was coming in for a landing. “As the aircraft made a bank and leveled out over the home of Jason McCay, McCay fired upon the aircraft with a long-gun,” the affidavit states. One witness, standing about 60 yards from McCay’s house, said he saw McCay standing at a fence beside the airstrip with a weapon that looked like a shotgun and that he watched McCay aim at the aircraft in flight, track it, and fire repeatedly, according to the affidavit.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security investigated the case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant, Sr.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is only a charge. It is the government’s responsibility to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.