Special Forces attacked by man dressed as a ninja while training in California, suspect detained

Image credit: Kern County Sheriff's Office.
Image credit: Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

Chad Garland

Stars and Stripes

Nonlethal rounds failed to stop a sword-wielding man dressed as a ninja who authorities say injured two special operations soldiers, then brandished his blade at sheriff’s deputies last month at a California airport, according to authorities.

Deputies from a Kern County Sheriff’s Office substation in Ridgecrest, Calif., responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon Sept. 18 at Inyokern Airport, the office said in a statement posted Friday on Twitter. The airport is located in the Mojave Desert, near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they found some 26 special operations soldiers training at the airport “hunkered down” in the hangar after an attack by a man dressed as a ninja, Ridgecrest Police Department records show. Stars and Stripes first reported details of the incident, which was revealed in a military report leaked on social media, earlier this week.

Officers discovered the suspect had assaulted one victim with a sword and hit another victim after tossing a rock through a hangar window, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Gino Rivera, was booked for attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a weapon, brandishing a weapon with the intent to resist or prevent an arrest, vandalism, and obstruct/delay a peace officer in the discharge of their duties, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

The victims were identified as a staff sergeant and captain with F Co., 2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, according to the report posted on social media. A spokesman for the Army’s Special Operations Aviation Command confirmed the incident occurred, but declined to provide further details.

The staff sergeant was outside the hangar smoking when the ninja-clad Rivera approached and asked the soldier if he knew who he was. The soldier did not. Rivera then asked if the soldier knew where his family was — the soldier did not — prompting Rivera to slash the soldier’s phone, knee and leg with a sword.

The soldier then ran through the parking lot and jumped a fence before entering the hangar’s admin building, where the staff sergeant and an unnamed captain began locking doors and calling 911, the leaked report said.

Rivera gave chase, kicking and punching the building’s doors and windows before leaving to grab a large piece of asphalt that he tossed through the window, .

When Ridgecrest Police responded to the scene, Rivera refused to follow commands and brandished the sword at deputies, authorities said.

“Non-lethal rounds were deployed but were ineffective,” the sheriff’s office said in Friday’s statement.

Rivera ran and continued to disobey commands. He dropped the sword after a taser was deployed, authorities said.

“Deputies used control holds to take Rivera into custody,” the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the wounded soldiers were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The military report on social media said the two soldiers both required multiple stitches for their wounds.


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