|For Immediate Release |
May 18, 2010
|United States Attorney's Office |
District of Puerto Rico
Contact: (787) 766-5656
SAN JUAN, PR—On Thursday, May 13, a complaint was filed against Edwin Bernard Astacio Espino, aka "Bernard," for willfully damaging and/or disabling an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. On the evening of May 4, 2010, the defendant fired a AK-47 rifle, black in color, 7.62 caliber, at a helicopter operated by the San Juan Municipal Police in interstate or foreign commerce, announced today Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, along with federal and state law enforcement agents. The complaint was authorized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin.
The complaint further charges that the defendant did use, carry and discharge a rifle, in furtherance of a violent crime, that being shooting at the helicopter, which resulted in the death of co-pilot Jesús Quiñones Santiago.
Both offenses alleged may carry the death penalty or life imprisonment.
“The arrest of Astacio Espino is the result of the joint efforts of a task force of federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agents who worked tirelessly to locate and capture him. We will continue working with law enforcement partners to conclude the ongoing investigation into the events of May 4, in which an innocent victim was viciously killed,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Vélez.
This arrest was part of the joint efforts of the FBI, Puerto Rico Police Department and San Juan Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney José A. Contreras.
A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.