San Diego Superior Court. File photo

A man who allegedly fired a rifle at a police helicopter in March pleaded not guilty Friday.

David Lowe, 47, stands accused of firing at least two shots at the San Diego Police Department chopper.

Deputy District Attorney Philippa Cunningham said La Jolla residents called police after 10 p.m. March 13. They reported that a man outside had pointed a rifle at the home and tried to break down the door.

The residents said Lowe wore body armor and pounded on his chest, the prosecutor added.

Lowe allegedly then fired on the helicopter, though the shots missed their target. No one suffered injuries in the incident, according to SDPD Lt. Andra Brown.

When police arrested Lowe, they found several firearms, ammunition, gas masks, and bulletproof vests in his possession, Cunningham said.

Defense attorney Rafael Acosta disputed the prosecution’s account. He said Lowe fired a round into the air, nowhere near the helicopter.

Acosta also said Lowe never pointed the rifle at the residents inside the home. He asserted that Lowe suffers from an anxiety disorder, which was exacerbated by being laid off from his job, as well as the threat of the coronavirus outbreak.

The prosecution requested that Lowe be held without bail. Acosta argued that the court should allow him to be released on his own recognizance.

Acosta emphasized that Lowe has no prior criminal history, was cooperative with officers upon his arrest. Police also seized all of his weapons.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser agreed to bail. He said though that the “extraordinarily serious facts” alleged by prosecutors warranted bail of $1 million.

“Public safety comes first,” the judge said.

Lowe is due back in court July 9 for a preliminary hearing.

– City News Service

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