Phoenix Police Aircraft Targets of Two Laser-Pointer Incidents in Two Days; 14-Year-Old Suspect Arrested
They didn't use those words exactly, but Phoenix police Sergeant James Holmes wants Phoenix residents to know that anyone found messing with police aircraft could face charges of aggravated assault and endangerment.
Seems a little steep for what is often a childish (or alcohol-related) prank, but just this week there were two incidents involving police aircraft and some idiot who decided to shine a laser pointer into the eyes of the pilots.
On Monday night, a police aircraft on routine patrol was forced to make an emergency landing at a Phoenix elementary school after some jackass in the area of 12th Street and Cave Creek Road shined a green laser pointer into the cockpit of the aircraft.
The pilot of the aircraft claims his vision was so impaired by the laser that a second crew had to be driven to the landing site to fly the aircraft back to the airport.
Seems a little over-dramatic for only having a laser pointer shined in your eyes, but better safe than sorry, we guess.
Police were unable to track down a suspect in that case, and the officer is slowly recovering, police say.
There was another laser-related incident last night involving two other officers in pursuit of a felony suspect.
While adding air support to a ground crew searching for the suspect, someone shined a red laser pointer into the cockpit of a police aircraft.
Police were able to find the person responsible for the offense and he turned out to be a 14-year-old kid.
Police arrested the 14-year-old, who was later detained at the Juvenile Correction Center pending charges of aggravated assault.
These cases are just the latest of 12 aircraft-related laser incidents since last May, when an ASU student made headlines when he was arrested for a similar crime.
"Monday's incident, in which the pilot is still recovering his full sight, is indicative of the effects these actions have on all people who fly any type of aircraft," says Holmes. "This poses an extreme danger to the pilots and to our citizens on the ground. Vision interruption, even for a split-second, could cause a catastrophe of immense proportions."