Phoenix man arrested for laser strike on Phoenix PD chopper
PHOENIX – A man was arrested on suspicion of endangerment and aiming a laser at an occupied aircraft.
ABC15 reported that Davonte Jamerson, 27, was taken into custody on Aug. 16 for pointing a green laser at a Phoenix Police Department helicopter for an extended period of time.
Studies show that hand held laser pointers are extremely dangerous and can potentially have catastrophic consequences like blinding a pilot or causing a plane or helicopter to crash.
“When the laser hits you, it’s pretty obvious that’s what it is,” Phoenix Police officer Scott Hopkins told the TV station.
Hopkins was providing aerial assistance to ground units during a residential burglary when the cockpit was illuminated with a bright green light.
Hopkins and his co-pilot were able to direct ground units to the source of the light — the home of Jamerson.
Although Davonte stated that he did not intentionally shine the laser at the police helicopter, multiple neighbors told police that they saw him in front of the residence pointing a green laser at the chopper.
Just in the first half of 2019, there were 159 documented incidents involving laser strikes according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
That number alone ranked Arizona fourth in the country for laser related incidents involving aircrafts. In 2017, the state ranked third.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal offense and can be punishable with up to a $250,000 fine or five years in prison according to the FAA.