Pilot Okay, Suspect Jailed On $1 Million Bond
"I've been hit, Arnie! Radio in I've been shot."
That's what Clay Center, KS, pilot Mike
Spicer remembers shouting across the cockpit of his Cessna 150 last
Friday as he helped law officers search for a man who fled a
traffic stop. Spicer, who runs the airport in Clay County, has
helped law enforcement by flying airborne search missions several
times in his 35 years as a pilot. But, he said, this is the first
time anyone ever took a shot at him.
Spicer, along with friend Arnie Knoettgen, took to the air less
than six minutes after getting a call from Clay County Sheriff
Chuck Dunn asking for help in finding a man who had been stopped
for a traffic violation, then took off.
The two men arrived over the search area shortly after taking
off, then spotted the suspect's pickup truck. Moments later,
they saw the suspect himself and made four passes
overhead, using the Cessna's radio to direct Sheriff Dunn and his
deputies into the wheat field where the man was hiding.
The suspect was lying on the ground, shirtless, face-down. "I
thought he was down. I thought he was no threat,” said
Spicer, who is also a Clay County commissioner, in a telephone
interview with the Kansas City Star. “I never saw a weapon,
never saw him raise up and shoot.”
But shoot he did and apparently the first shot fired entered the
150's window and grazed Spicer's forehead just above his left eye.
The bullet cut a half-inch wide, three-inch long wound, according
to media reports.
"I didn't know how badly I was injured. It didn't hurt at all,
that's what scared me," Spicer told the Star. I knew I had to
get Arnie on the ground."
Bleeding profusely from his forehead, Spicer needed help from
his non-pilot companion to make it safely back to the airport. As
they flew back to the strip, Spicer said they began to pray.
"I was praying for the officers, so they wouldn't get hurt,"
Spicer said. "And we said, 'Oh, by the way, Lord, we need a little
Using a jacket to stem the bleeding from his forehead, Spicer
was able to get his 150 down safely. He was rushed to a local
hospital where he was treated for what turned out to be a
relatively minor wound and released that evening.
The suspect, 25-year old Michael Machaud, was arrested by
deputies on the ground. He's now in the Clay County Jail, charged
with two counts of attempted murder. He's being held on $1 million
As for Spicer, you might think he'd shy away from any search
missions in the future. But Sheriff Dunn says... not so.
"He says, ‘You need me again, you call me,'" Dunn said. "I
told him, 'Next time we do this and you find the subject we're
looking for, fly a little bit higher this time.'"