Man arrested for pointing laser at police helicopter

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Police arrested a man early Saturday morning for allegedly endangering one of their helicopter crews with a laser pointer.

A spokesman with the Phoenix Police Department said the helicopter crew was flying in the area of 27th Avenue and McDowell Road looking for a suspect when Mario Michel, 25, pointed the laser at their aircraft.

The crew in the helicopter was able to direct officers on the ground to Michel and he was arrested. 

Sgt. Tommy Thompson stated that Michel confessed to pointing the laser at the aircraft and told officers that he knew that the laser blinds pilot.

According to Thompson, "This seemingly harmless act is very dangerous for aircraft pilots and it is illegal. It carries with it significant federal fines if the suspect is convicted." 

Michel was booked into the Maricopa County Jail, charged with two counts of Endangerment, Class 6 Felonies, and a City of Phoenix misdemeanor warrant. 

The pilots, two Phoenix Police Officers were the victims.