Man accused of shining laser light at police chopper may go to jail

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – A father and husband was evicted from his home and will likely be going to jail because of a laser.

Louis, who did not want to provide his last name, is accused of shining a small laser at a police helicopter but he says he didn’t mean to.

“Now I just got kicked out of my apartment. I will be going to jail and now I have to figure out who is going to take care of my wife and kids.”

Investigators say Louis shined a laser into the eyes of Phoenix police helicopter pilots while responding to an emergency call.

Police were able to track the laser light to Louis who says it was an accident. “There’s a light pole right there,” he explains. “When I aimed at the light pole, I hit the helicopter.”

Laser lights or pens are a problem that has plagued the police department for some time. In March of last year a helicopter pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after someone pointed a laser light at his eyes. The pilot landed safely but was taken to the hospital to have his eyes examined.

Two years ago 19-year-old Vincent Bodin was arrested for shining lasers at commercial planes flying out of Sky Harbor Airport.

"We are taking it seriously. The FAA certainly has some concerns," Sgt. Steve Martos says. "We have our homeland defense that has some concerns with it and we are going to be aggressively looking for those who engage in this type of behavior."

The police department is asking the Maricopa County attorney to charge Louis with four counts of reckless endangerment.

Louis says he hopes the authorities will be lenient with his case. “It was an innocent mistake. I did not mean for it to happen. It was not intentional and I apologize.”