Man arrested for allegedly pointing laser at Phoenix police helicopter

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Karen Brown

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 18 at 2:17 PM

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PHOENIX – A 21-year-old man faces endangerment charges after he allegedly pointed a laser at a Phoenix police helicopter Tuesday night.

Police said Antonio Rodriguez pointed a green laser light from an apartment complex while the helicopter was on patrol in the area of 48th Street and Thomas Road at about 11:10 p.m. The light struck the cockpit.

The two officers on board the aircraft placed a spotlight on the suspect and obtained a description, according to Phoenix police spokesman Officer James Holmes.

The suspect retreated into a breezeway between two apartments and the air unit lost sight of him. The aircraft officers directed ground units to where they last saw the suspect.

Officers were able to determine one specific apartment to which the suspect may have retreated. They went to that apartment and contacted Rodriguez.

Holmes said Rodriguez told the officers that he was sorry and didn't know he could not point a laser at the aircraft. He also told police he had the laser in his pocket and was only testing its range.

Rodriguez was arrested for endangerment and booked into jail.

"The Phoenix Police Department will continue to warn our citizens about lasers and the dangers they impose to the people on board an aircraft and citizens on the ground. And, we will continue to arrest those who recklessly endanger the public," Holmes said in a media release emailed to 3TV Wednesday afternoon.  

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