Man Finds Out What Happens When You Point Green Laser at Police Helicopter During Pursuit
A Virginia man learned a lesson about playing stupid games and winning stupid prizes last week when he was arrested for allegedly pointing a green laser at a police helicopter.
The helicopter was in the air assisting forces on the ground hunting for a suspect on the run near an apartment complex in Lorton, in Virginia’s Fairfax County at around 11:30 p.m. on Friday when the aircraft’s crew was hit by the laser beam, WUSA-TV reported.
Video taken from the police chopper shows someone standing on the balcony of an apartment building flashing the intense green laser light at the aircraft’s cockpit.
The helicopter crew alerted police on the ground and they later identified a 25-year-old man in an apartment complex situated on the 9200 block of Ashland Woods Lane in Lorton, which is about a half-hour southwest of the Washington D.C. suburb of Alexandria.
The man was arrested and released on an unsecured bond.
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is illegal and also a very bad idea when that aircraft is a police helicopter,” a Facebook post by the Fairfax County Police Department read.
The man, who has not been publicly identified, faces a class 1 misdemeanor, the penalty for the crime of interfering with the operation of an aircraft in Virginia.
While the man’s actions were dangerous enough, worse things could have happened, as seen in Detroit in January when a man ended up shot dead by police after trying to blind a police helicopter crew in the Motor City.
Michigan State Police confronted a 33-year-old man who was holed up in an abandoned house when they tracked him down after he allegedly pointed a laser at a police helicopter and followed that up by firing shots at the aircraft.
And it seems to be happening a lot, these days. Just last year, a man in St. Louis was arrested for pointing a laser at a police Metro Air Support helicopter, KSDK-TV reported at the time.
The station added that there had already been five laser strikes in Missouri by February of 2022, and there are more than 9,000 such incidents reported a year, some of which result in injuries, and many perpetrated as assaults on police.
It isn’t just idiots on apartment building balconies pulling this trick, either. Last February, a Chinese naval vessel fired off a green laser at an Australian Air Force P-8 airplane in a hostile act inside Australian waters, nearly causing an international incident.
These lasers are quite dangerous for a pilot and crew. They can temporarily blind pilots putting their safety in danger.
As ABC News noted in 2020 after a similar incident involving a Customs and Border Patrol helicopter, shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft is a federal crime.
If convicted, perpetrators in the U.S. can face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
So, if you know anyone who thinks this is a “funny” thing to do, remind them of these stories and let them know that they can pay a hefty price for such nonsense.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.