Man charged for injuring pilot with laser at police helicopter

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A laser light like the one on the left was used to blind the pilot of the Michigan State Police helicopter Trooper Two.

It's a problem pilots across the country have begun bringing to light, people shining laser pointers at them from the ground.

Now a Wyandotte man is facing federal charges accused of shining his device at a Michigan State Police helicopter.

It made for a dangerous and potentially deadly moment for two Michigan State troopers up in the air Wednesday night flying over Detroit in a state police helicopter known as Trooper Two.

"(He) basically had a high powered laser beam, blue," said Brian Gadwell of the Detroit police. "He started pointing it different objects and he started pointing it at the helicopter as it was flying in the area.

Sources say this is the laser the 39-year-old Wyandotte man decided to point right at the state chopper, into the windshield and right through a trooper's night-vision goggles.

"Trooper 2 has had a couple of them," said Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw. "But this is actually the first one that they've actually hit the tactical flight officer."

"You need to use extreme caution playing with lasers, they are very harmful, if used in a bad way," said Gadwell.

Gadwell, the arresting officer at the scene said that  Detroit police working with those troopers, were able to follow the man and arrest him not long after.
"You can't shine lasers into somebody's eyes - especially somebody who is flying a $5 million state-owned aircraft."

The man was turned over to the FBI  and is awaiting arraignment. He is now charged with a Federal Aviation Administration violation.

Right now the FBI is not commenting on the incident but state police say that trooper was injured and is recovering at home.

"It causes temporary blindness," Shaw said. "Headaches are something he is complaining about right now. Once they landed we had a trooper take him to U of M Ann Arbor (hospital)."

Upon arrest, sources say Detroit police also recovered a gun but added the man did have a valid concealed pistol license.

State police said they are seeing more and more dangerous laser strikes with aircrafts. They remind everyone it isn't a game..

"Don't be stupid," Shaw said. "You're going to go to jail."