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Joint Aviation Unit helicopter helps locate juveniles driving a stolen vehicle and waving a gun

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

The Joint Aviation Unit helicopter played an important role in apprehending some teenagers who were reported to be waving a firearm from a stolen vehicle in Hawthorne.

Around 11:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 5, deputies observed a Black Dodge Journey in the 15500 block of State Road 20, traveling 98 mph in a 65 mph zone. They attempted to stop the vehicle, but it failed to stop. A pursuit was not initiated based on traffic charges alone. A check of the license plate returned that the vehicle was stolen from GPD’s jurisdiction.

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At approximately 1:21 p.m., the Combined Communications Center received a call regarding a suspicious vehicle in the area of SE 215th Street and SE 61st Avenue. The vehicle was described as a Black Dodge Journey with several juvenile occupants. The caller also advised it appeared one of the occupants was wearing a full face orange stocking mask and someone else was holding what appeared to be a firearm (described as an AK-47) out the window.

A search began for the vehicle, and Air 1 eventually located the vehicle arriving at a residence in Putnam County and watched 6 occupants get out of the vehicle. The vehicle did not stay long, and 3 occupants returned and left in the vehicle. The vehicle took back roads before coming back out on State Road 20. The helicopter was able to report on the vehicle’s movements so ASO units on the ground could plan for the best place to stop it.

Deputies were able to deploy stop sticks around 3:16 p.m. in the 13300 block of State Road 20, which deflated one of the tires and brought the vehicle to a stop. Two juveniles, ages 14 and 15, were taken into custody.