One Kingsburg pilot was baffled when he took off to fertilize a field and was met with violent resistance from one of his neighbors. The pilot has traveled the same path to fertilize the same field for the past five years, but this experience was different than all the others.
On February 2nd, Mark Trinkle went about his business and prepared to fertilize a field. As he was engaged in his duties, he noticed a strange sound. He quickly landed the aircraft to investigate. He was astonished when he found a bullet hole in his plane’s fertilizer spreader. The hole was reportedly only about seven feet below where Trinkle was seated, so he’s very lucky to have missed the bullet.
Confused, Trinkle reached out to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office to investigate. After interviewing the victim and several witnesses, officers identified the primary suspect as Roy Vander Velde. Witnesses told authorities the suspect had previously made threats to shoot down the airplane because it scared his cattle.
When officers contacted the suspect, Velde admitted to making threats to shoot down the plane in the past. Detectives also found evidence at the suspect’s home that indicated he committed the crime.
Now, 55-year-old Roy Velde is facing serious charges as a result of his actions. On February 5th, he was arrested and charged with attempted homicide, the negligent discharge of a firearm and shooting at an occupied aircraft. His bail is currently set at $500,000.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with more information regarding this crime to reach out to them at 1-800-808-0488.