Sword-wielding ‘ninja’ slashes Army sergeant in ambush on special ops unit

Law enforcement officials in Ridgecrest were made aware shortly after 1am on 18 September that a man, dressed as a ninja, was wielding a sword at Inyokern Airport in Kern County.

“The suspect had assaulted a victim at the scene with a sword, and thrown a rock through a hangar window, hitting an additional victim in the head,” the Kern County Sheriff’s Office said on Friday.

A US Army Special Operations unit was attacked in the middle of the night in a desert north of Los Angeles, California by a man “wearing full ninja garb”. At least two people were injured.

Both victims are members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), Stars and Stripes reported. The troops were at the airport conducting an exercise, the report added.

The incident report, posted on Instagram, stated that a staff sergeant was smoking a cigarette near a hangar at the airport when he was approached by “an unknown person wearing full ninja garb”.

“Do you know who I am?” the man asked, according to the report. The sergeant said he didn’t know the man dressed as a ninja.

“Do you know where my family is?” the man asked, prompting the sergeant to once again say he didn’t know. At this time, “the person in ninja garb began to slash” at the sergeant using a katana sword, “striking his phone and his knee and leg”.

The sergeant ran and jumped over a fence, and eventually made it back to a building where other service members were present. The sergeant and a captain locked all the doors and called 911 as the man dressed as a ninja punched and kicked the doors and windows.

The Ridgecrest Police Department said a report about a man in ninja apparel came in at 1.19am and that there was “at least one victim”. Another call came in at 1.43am stating that 26 special operations military members were “hunkered down in a hang[a]r wondering where help is”.

Police found the man in ninja gear on a road close to the hangar. The sheriff’s office said he “refused to follow commands and brandished the sword at deputies”.

Projectile rounds used by deputies were “ineffective”. The suspect ran but was then Tasered by deputies leading to him dropping the sword and officers being able to take him into custody. The man was identified as 35-year-old Gino Rivera.

He was arrested “for attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a weapon, brandishing a weapon with the intent to resist or prevent an arrest” as well as vandalism and obstructing or delaying an officer in the performance of their duties, the sheriff’s office added.

The incident report revealed that both the sergeant and the captain needed stitches but were able to return to work.

The mission of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is to transport Navy SEAL teams and others using helicopters.

They train at night as many of their missions occur under the cover of darkness. The service members north of LA were a part of the regiment’s second battalion, which is based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

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