A man decked out in ninja gear and toting a sword assaulted two soldiers at an airfield in the Mojave desert last month, leaving them wounded and hunkered in a locked building late at night, according to a purported leaked military report of the incident that was later partly confirmed by police.
U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command spokesman Maj. Jeff Slinker confirmed to Stars and Stripes that the incident detailed in the leaked document floating around Reddit on Wednesday had occurred but he did not offer further comment.
Kern County deputies confirmed Friday they had arrested a suspect, 35-year-old Gino Rivera, who they said “assaulted a victim at the scene with a sword,” and threw a rock through a hangar window, hitting a second victim in the head. They added that Rivera “brandished the sword at deputies” when they arrived.
Rivera was booked into the Central Receiving Facility for attempted homicide and a slew of weapons-related and other charges, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
According to a photographed copy of the document circulating on Reddit, the service members were left with head and leg wounds that required “multiple stitches” before they were later cleared to return to duty. The sheriff’s office confirmed that the victims were transported to a local hospital but did not say they were soldiers.
In the document, names of the injured soldiers were not disclosed, but they were identified by the abbreviations “SSG” and “CPT”—staff sergeant and captain—and appeared to be training at the Inyokern Airport in Kern County, California.
Around 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, the staff sergeant was sitting outside an administration building smoking a cigarette when he was approached by “an unknown person wearing full ninja garb,” the document states.
The man, wielding a sword, asked the staff sergeant, “Do you know who I am?” according to the document.
When the sergeant replied no, the ninja continued, “Do you know where my family is?” After the soldier again replied no, the ninja-cloaked person “began to slash” at the officer, “striking his phone and his knee and leg,” the document states.
The staff sergeant fled across the parking lot and jumped over a fence before locking himself inside an administrative building where he was joined by a captain and called 911, the report states.
The ninja-clad person began “kicking and punching doors and windows.” He left the building only to return with a block of asphalt which he threw through a window, striking the captain.
Additional details provided in the report suggest the victims could be members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, a helicopter unit known as the Night Stalkers, which had been tasked with support at Fort Irwin’s National Training Center, Stars and Stripes reported.
The Ridgecrest Police Department told The Daily Beast that it had assisted the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, who led the “ninja case.”
According to logs posted on its website, Ridgecrest police recorded a first call at 1:19 a.m., involving a man in a “ninja costume” armed with a sword who was on foot in a parking lot. It noted there was “at least one victim.”
Less than 30 minutes later came what appeared to be a related 911 call linked back to the airport with fresh details that read, “hunkered down in a [hangar] wondering where help is.”
Danielle Kernkamp, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, told The Daily Beast that Rivera ran from deputies and that deputies had used a taser on him. After dropping the sword, he was taken into custody, she said.