A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: California man arrested for aiming a laser pointer (on a gun?) at people

A 30-year-old man was arrested July 18 2017 for aiming a laser pointer “at people passing Potrero Circle and Lawler Ranch Parkway” in Suisun City, California. It was not clear from press reports if pedestrians or vehicles were being targeted.

A caller had reported to police that a man had “something attached to a laser that appeared to be a firearm.” Police arrested Jose M. Padilla as he was leaving the area in a van.

Padilla had been arrested July 10 2017 on a firearms charge. He was not to possess firearms or ammunition. When arrested on July 18, ammunition was found in the van.

He was charged with two misdemeanors: suspicion of violating a firearms emergency protective order, and suspicion of pointing a laser pointer with the intent to cause a person to fear harm.

From the Daily Republic and The Reporter

US: Illinois man charged with aiming laser pointer at officer

Clinton N. Sanders, 33, of Gillespie, Illinois (about 38 miles NE of Saint Louis, Missouri) has been charged with aggravated battery and disorderly conduct with a laser pointer in connection with an April 28 2017 incident in which he allegedly picked an officer up off the ground in a bear hug and aimed an operating laser pointer at the officer.

From “Court News” in the Macoupin (IL) County Enquirer-Democrat

US: Multilple laser pointer attacks on Chesapeake Bay ships

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that multiple ships in the Chesapeake Bay had a laser aimed at them in April and early May 2017. The laser light came from an area between Drum Point and Cove Point in St. Marys County, Maryland:

Laser Chesapeake Bay

The following is from a Coast Guard press release dated May 4 2017:

The Coast Guard is investigating multiple laser strikes during the past month aimed at commercial vessels transiting the Chesapeake Bay and warns the public of this dangerous act.

Four incidences occurred early Wednesday morning between midnight and 3 a.m., involving the motor vessels Salome, Bulk Spain, and AM Annaba. Additionally, a pilot vessel was lased as it was on its way back to the pilot launch.

Three other incidents occurred: Monday around 2 a.m., involving the motor vessel Hoegh Osaka; Sunday at 4 a.m., and involved the cruise ship Carnival Pride and another April 7 at approximately 1 a.m., involving the motor vessel Maersk Kolkata.

During all incidents, the laser light was described as steady, powerful and somewhat painful to the eyes. The reporting source believes the laser originated in the area between Drum Point and Cove Point, and lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

“Laser lights, and other bright lights can be a hazard to navigation,” said Lt. Trish Elliston, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region. “The most likely scenario is the laser would blind or distract a pilot which would prevent the pilot from seeing a smaller vessel. This could cause a collision or other serious incident in the shipping channel.”

The Laser Safety Act, makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully cause or attempt to cause bodily injury by shining, pointing, or focusing the beam of a laser pointer on an individual operating a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft. The penalty is a maximum 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

The Coast Guard is working with state and local law enforcement along with Chesapeake Bay Pilots to investigate the incidents. Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of the individual, or individuals, involved are asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Command Center at 410-576-2525 or via email at cgis-baltimore@uscg.mil.

US: Man charged with assault for aiming laser at state trooper who was driving

On April 14 2017, a Michigan State Police trooper driving on his way to a crash had a laser aimed at him. The trooper’s partner was able to identify a male suspect who was taken into custody.

On April 17 state police announced that Jonathan Edward Rayner was arrested and a laser pointer was retrieved. Rayner had been a passenger in another car on the highway. The 32-year-old man was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, and with “assaulting-resisting-obstructing a police officer.” Both assault charges are felonies. The maximum penalty is four years in prison on the dangerous weapon charge, and 20 years in prison for assaulting a police officer.

Jonathan Edward Rayner laser
Jonathan Edward Rayner


The incident happened on eastbound Interstate 94 in Wayne County at about 8 pm. The trooper was taken to a hospital “with vision problems and headache.” Later that day, state police tweeted “His vision has returned and he has been cleared. Other than a serious headache he should be back to work.”

From two tweets by Michigan State Police Metro Detroit, as initially reported in
ClickOnDetroit.com. Announcement of the suspect’s name and the charges from the Detroit News, Fox 2 Detroit and the Morning Sun. Thanks to David Bothner for bringing this to our attention.

US: $13,241 in fines, 15 days in jail for Washington state man who aimed at a ferry

On December 27 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard assessed a civil penalty of $9,500 against Mark Raden, 27, for “interfering with the safe operation of a vessel” by aiming a blue laser at a Washington state ferry on October 22 2015. One of the ferry’s officers was said to have burns on his eyelid.

Raden also pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in Island County Superior Court. He was ordered to serve 15 days in jail, perform 240 hours of community service, pay $3,740.89 in restitution to the master and chief mate, and serve 24 months probation.

On April 26 2016, the Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden. According to a Coast Guard press release at the time, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae [ferry] while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton [in Washington state]. The final civil penalty amount [which turned out to be $9,500] will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.”

A Coast Guard spokesperson told Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica "Originally there were multiple charges that brought the maximum amount to $100,000 [as] referenced in the original [press] release. Ultimately the hearing officer has the final say and chose to only pursue the one charge for 'interfering with the safe operation of a vessel' and assessed a fine of $9,500."

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From the Chronicle, the San Juan Islander and Ars Technica. The original LaserPointerSafety.com story about the incident is here; an updated story with news about Raden’s arrest and the Coast Guard penalty is here. Additional details of Raden’s previous run-ins over misusing lasers can be found in an April 11 2016 HeraldNet story.

US: Fan banned from basketball arenas for aiming laser at player

A Houston Rockets player had a laser pointer aimed at him, during a January 4 2016 National Basketball Association game against the Utah Jazz. The player, James Harden, pointed to the stands.

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden 00


The perpetrator was found and was ejected from the arena:

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden


He was later banned from NBA arenas for a year.

After the game, Harden said “Some guy was lasering me. I saw it the first time and I thought it was a picture being taken. I went to the foul line again and it happened again. The referee [Tom Washington] caught it before I did. That’s the first time that happened to me.”

Two days later, Harden told ESPN “That's just disrespectful, not just to a basketball player, anybody. Whoever that guy was he wouldn't want to be lasered in the face, so that was disrespectful. It's not my call [on the fan being banned], I'm just trying not to get blind."

From the Houston Chronicle, SB Nation and USA Today

US: Man charged with using laser pointer to lure feral cats into dog attack

A witness reported a man and his pit bull dog were “terrorizing” feral cats on Digital Drive. The man would use a laser pointer to lure the cats out from a dark corner so that his dog could attack the felines. The disturbance was reported 11:10 p.m. December 4 2016.

From the December 8 2016 “Police blotter” report in the Morgan Hill (Calif.) Times

US: Man charged with pointing laser at two Va. police officers

A man was charged for shining a laser on two Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department officers on December 6 2016.

Just after 2 a.m., two officers, dressed in full uniform, responded to the 12200 block of Water Elm Lane for a report of concern for a garage door that was left partially open. As they waited outside a home to speak to someone, one officer noticed a red laser pointed directly at them. Not knowing the source or purpose of the light, both officers took cover.

They saw the suspect standing on an apartment balcony nearby, in the 4400 block of Milroy Way. They went to the apartment and identified the suspect, who was cooperative. Officers determined the device was a small laser pointer.

Johnny A. Tela, 24, of Centreville, was issued a summons for pointing a laser at a law-enforcement officer (Va State code 18.2-57.01).

From a Fairfax County Police Department news story

US: Multi-car crash due to laser being aimed at driver

A woman driving on Interstate 5 in Oregon was dazzled by a green laser beam aimed by the driver of another car. This led to a three-car crash causing body damage to the vehicles. There were no reported injuries due to the crash or the laser light.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 am on October 25 2016. Miranda Senters, 18, was driving her new car, bought one week prior, when the driver in front of her aimed a green laser beam over his shoulder towards her. Senters told KGW News “I just kept going back and forth a little bit, trying to keep out of the light.” The laser driver then went behind Senters’ car and aimed into the rear-view mirror: “…he’s shining it from the back of me into my eyes and I couldn’t see.”

Senters tried to get away but the other driver weaved in and out of lanes to keep up with her. While trying to avoid the light, Senters swerved to the shoulder and spun out. The other car crashed into her. A third driver hit a barrier when trying to avoid the stopped vehicles.

The laser car, an older Honda Civic, left the scene. In an Instagram post, state police asked the public to help them find the Civic.

laser car crash Oregon i-5 I5 Senter
State police photo showing Senters’ car with driver side damage, at the scene on Interstate 5.


Senters later told KPTV “He had a little laser and was trying to get it through my front window. I went blind because a green laser light — like my eyes still hurt from that, I can still see it…. I don’t understand how it’s a joke. It could have killed me.”

From KGW and KPTV. Thank you to George Palikaras for bringing this to our attention.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first well-documented case we’re aware of where a laser pointer aimed at a driver directly caused a crash. There was a fatal crash in 1998 which was partially blamed on a laser pointer, and an indirect reference to a three-car accident in 1999. There have also been a number of near-accidents and other car-related laser incidents which are listed here.

US: College football referee asks fans to stop shooting laser beams onto field

During a September 16 2016 college football game in Houston between rivals Rice and Baylor, someone in the stands shone a green laser beam onto the field.

Pic 2016-09-17 at 10.30.14 AM

The referee stopped the game and, using the public address system, faced the crowd and said “Ladies and gentlemen, please refrain from shooting lasers onto the field. Thank you.”

A video of the laser beam, and the referee’s announcement, can be seen here.

From USA Today and SB Nation

US: Teen points beam from laser "gun" into officer's eyes

A teenager pointed a laser “gun” at a Northport, NY police officer’s face. The incident happened at 9:45 pm on September 10 2016. The 17-year-old was arrested about 21 hours later, and was charged with second-degree menacing and second-degree harassment.

Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca told LaserPointerSafety.com that the laser beam went into the officer’s face and eyes. The officer was temporarily blinded. He did not feel discomfort, but did go to an eye doctor for an exam which showed no ill effects.

Ricca said that the situation could have been much worse: “If the laser was aimed at the cop’s chest so the cop could see what was going on, I’m sure he might have shot at the kid. We would have had a real bad incident.”

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.10.06 PM
The laser “gun” used in the incident.

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.22.30 PM
An Internet search of similar “laser pointer guns” turns up a similar
lighter costing about $7.00.


From Northport Patch and a September 16 2016 phone interview with Chief Bill Ricca

US: Family robbed by men who threatened them with a laser pointer

At about 1 am on September 13 2016, a family was robbed in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, convenience store parking lot by three men. One of them aimed a laser pointer at the father and demanded cash and purses. The family turned over the items and the men left.

A news story states “It’s not clear if the men had any weapons.”

From NewsOn6.com

US: Disorderly man aims laser pointer at police officer

A disorderly man was arrested in New Castle, Indiana, for aiming a red laser pointer at a police officer.

At about 4:35 am on September 11 2016, city police were called to a tavern where 57-year-old David Roginski was trying to enter — although the tavern was closed. He shouted at officers, flipped a lit cigarette at them, then pointed the laser at an officer while hiding behind a traffic light box.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and with directing a laser pointer at a public safety officer. Each charge could result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days. (On September 13, he was separately charged with auto theft, stemming from allegedly stealing a vehicle on September 7. Roginski has had multiple past run-ins with the law, as well.)

From the Star Press and the Courier-Times

US: Study examines four laser-caused eye injuries in children, at one medical practice

A study in the October 2016 journal Pediatrics described four cases where children had laser-related eye injuries, all being presented at a single clinical practice within a two-year period. The authors call this “[t]o our knowledge, the largest reported case series of laser pointer-induced retinal damage in the pediatric population in a developed country to date.”

In a separate interview, one of the authors, ophthalmologist Dr. David Almeida, said these cases are “happening more frequently…. It was previously thought this was a one-in-a-million event. It's still probably a rare-to-uncommon reaction, but it's not a never reaction.”

All four children had foveal laser burns. Three of the children had potentially permanent vision loss. These are the cases:

  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a green laser pointer for about a minute. He had decreased central vision in both eyes, with 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/30 in another. His vision and macular condition was found to be unchanged after 7 months.
  • A 16-year-old teenager similarly had central vision loss in both eyes, after playing with a green laser pointer for about 30 seconds. He was first examined three days after the exposure, scars and atrophy were found on the retina. Two weeks later his vision has worsened. Visual acuity was 20/40 in both eyes with no improvement.
  • A 9-year-old boy looked at the reflection of a green laser pointer in a mirror (essentially the same as a direct beam) for an unknown length of time. His vision was 20/50. He was treated with 1% prednisolone three times a day for two weeks. His vision improved to 20/30, but he still had “persistent abnormalities of the photoreceptors.”
  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a red laser pointer for about 15 seconds. He had central vision loss, and 20/70 vision. He was given an injection of bevacizumab, which gradually improved his vision and symptoms. After 1 year, he had 20/20 vision.

The authors noted that laser pointers are more available, that users may not be aware of the dangers, and that some users may use pointers improperly.

Visible lasers less than 5 milliwatts (the U.S. legal standard for a laser to be marketed as a “pointer”) are considered to be generally safe due to the bright light reflex, which causes a person to blink and turn away from a bright light. So one question is why these children were injured by laser pointers.

One reason, according to the authors, is that “children increase their chance to retinal injury by staring at the laser beam without blinking or averting the eye for a prolonged duration.”

Another possible cause is that “the labeling of the power output of a laser point may be different from the device’s actual specifications.” They referred to a study of 122 laser pointers, where 90% of green pointers and 44% of red pointers were above the 5 milliwatt U.S. legal limit.

The study said that treatment options were “limited and also controversial.” Use of corticosteroids has shown “mixed results.” It may be enough to observe a patient over time, since many injuries will stabilize.

The authors recommended that laser pointer hazards “should be communicated to health professionals, school teachers, and guardians in an attempt to raise the public awareness of this emerging public health issue. Unsupervised use of these laser pointer devices among children should be discouraged, and there is a need for legislation to limit these devices in the pediatric population.”

From Retinal Injury Secondary to Laser Pointers in Pediatric Patients, Kunyong Xu, Eric K. Chin, Polly A. Quiram, John B. Davies, D. Wilkin Parke III and David R.P. Almeida, in Pediatrics; originally published online September 1, 2016; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1188. A general interest article summarizing the study, with additional comments from Almeida and another ophthalmologist, is at HealthDay.com. The abstract of the Pediatrics article is below; click the “Read More…” link.


Click to read more...

US: Laser pointer sale gone bad escalates to airsoft gun, then real gun

On August 19 2016, a group of men having alcoholic drinks in a Mill Creek (Washington) park discussed the sale of a laser pointer to one of the group. An argument broke out over the exchange of money.

The seller pulled out an airsoft gun, but one of the other men pulled out a .40 caliber pistol. The seller ran away, but was shot by the man with the pistol. The bullet impacted on a metal flashlight in the seller’s backpack, possibly saving his life.

Flashlight laser bullet
The flashlight that took the bullet impact


The shooter was arrested on charges of attempted murder.

From Q13Fox.com

US: Laser aimed at officers during St. Paul protests

St. Paul, Minnesota police tweeted on July 9 2016 “Person with laser sight pointing it at officers.” This occurred during widespread protests in over a dozen U.S. cities, after two black men were killed by officers on July 5 and 6. (The most violent reaction occurred in Dallas on July 7 when a black Army reservist killed five officers, injured eight more, and injured two spectators.)

On July 9 in Philadelphia, CBSPhilly reported that a person was arrested for aiming a laser at a police helicopter after the protest. WHYY Newsworks said that a man was “briefly detained by officers after he used a powerful flashlight to point at the helicopter overhead. Because no illegal laser-pointers were used, he was sent away with a citation for disorderly conduct….” It is not known if these two reports referred to the same incident.

A Google search as of July 11 did not turn up any additional instances where lasers were used in or around protests.

US: Officers in Green Bay targeted by laser during gun search

A man was arrested on September 7 2015 for aiming a laser pointer at Green Bay, Wisconsin police.

The officers had been searching at about 11 p.m. for a person who threatened someone with a gun. While the police did not find the person, during the search a laser dot was repeatedly aimed onto one of the officers.

A witness described how the laser “starts at the lower part of his torso and works his way up, as if somebody is zoning or eyeing in their weapon at this officer, and that’s exactly what this officer that saw this laser was thinking. He thinks somebody is pointing a laser at a target location on an officer to engage him and shoot him.”

According to a news report, “[t]he officers took cover and followed the laser more than a block away.” Officers confronted Jeffrey Klopotic at his home; the 45-year-old fought with the officers. They found Klopotic had a laser pointer. He was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, obstructing police, intention of directing a laser pointer at an officer, and disorderly conduct.

Jeffrey Klopotic laser
Jeffrey Klopotic

Because guns are often equipped with laser sights, police are worried whenever a laser dot appears on or near them. TV station WBAY purchased a $25 laser pointer and tested it side-by-side along with a laser gun sight. A former police captain they consulted could not tell the difference between the pointer’s dot and the gun sight’s dot.

A Green Bay police spokesman said “When you hear that eight officers are shot in nine days, yeah, it’s certainly going to get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up a little more. People have got to be mindful of what they’re doing, and the decision to do such a thing. It could have ended tragically.”

From WBAY; photo from Arrests.org.

US: UPDATED - Wash. state man charged with lasing ferry; ordered to pay $100,000 fine

27-year-old Mark Raden was alleged to have injured two ferry captains with a nominal 1-watt blue handheld laser. The captains were temporarily blinded and had eye irritation after the October 22 2015 incident. On April 1 2016, Raden was charged with two counts of third-degree assault. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The almost six-month delay was due in part because the crime took place in waters between jurisdictions, making it more complex to determine who would prosecute.

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - May 2 2016: The U.S. Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden on April 26 2016. According to a Coast Guard press release, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton. The final civil penalty amount will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.” The text of the press release is below (click on the “Read More…” link).

Click to read more...

US: Fatal Calif. car accident partially blamed on laser pointer

The following text in blue is from an Associated Press report dated Wednesday, December 30 1998:

Laser May Have Caused Calif. Crash

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) - Authorities detained a man accused of weaving in and out of
traffic at nearly 100 mph and shining a laser pointer, leading to a five-car wreck that
killed four teen-agers.

The California Highway Patrol would not say Tuesday night whether Scott Davis, 34, had been arrested. He crashed through a glass window of a San Jose home as authorities arrived to question him, Oakland TV station KTVU reported.

Davis was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, but a hospital spokeswoman would not comment.

Davis is believed to be the driver of a car that was speeding on Highway 101 late Monday. Witnesses said the driver was shining a laser pointer into other cars before the vehicle collided with a pickup, leading to the pileup.

All four occupants of one car - Charo Ursua, 19, Kevin Owens, 16, Janette Alvarado, 15,
and Michael Zaches, 17 - were killed.

Law enforcement officials partially blamed the accident on the laser pointer, made as an aid for business presentations and teachers. The Food and Drug Administration warned a year ago that the pointers could be more damaging to the eyes than staring at the sun.


A separate SFGate article, still available online as of February 2016, stated: “CHP [California Highway Patrol] investigators were trying to find out what role, if any, the laser pointer may have played in the crash. The pointers shine a bright dot and can cause a momentary loss of vision. ‘That's what's been going on with these laser lights with this craze the past six months,’ the CHP's DiSalvo said. ‘A lot of people use them to try to put fear in other people. . . . Some guns have these laser lights.’

US: Bronx bus driver sees doctor after passenger aims red laser at him

A 52-year-old bus driver had a red laser beam shone in his eye by a passenger, on November 18 2015. The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority bus BX15 was on its route in the Bronx with about 25 passengers aboard when driver Kenneth Johnson saw a flash of red laser light that temporarily blinded him. He stopped the bus and the passengers — including the unknown person with the laser — got off.

Johnson went to a hospital and had an eye examination the next day. (No results were reported as of November 19.)

Because the bus has cameras, the video will be used to try to identify the perpetrator.

According to WABC, this is the first laser incident involving a New York City bus driver.

From WABC

US: Blue laser pointer said to injure ferry captain in Washington state

The captains of a Washington state ferry were each hit by blue laser light, aimed at them by a man in his twenties from a passing ferry. The October 22 2015 incident lasted about a minute, and resulted in eye injuries to one of the captains. Also, earlier that same evening, a motorcyclist on Whidbey Island had a blue laser aimed at him while going to the ferry terminal.

This map shows the ferries’ route. The map’s indicated positions of the ferries are from a later time and do NOT show their position during the laser incident.

Washington State ferries map

At about 8:30 pm, the ferry M/V Tokitae (shown below) was approaching the Clinton (Wash.) Ferry Terminal. The captains were at wheelhouses on opposite ends of the 362-foot-long ferry. The one piloting the vessel was hit first, and suffered injuries.

Washington State Ferry MV Tokitae 01

According to Washington State Ferries Port Captain Jay Mooney, the man had “third-degree burns on his eyelid and his vision is still not quite back at 100 percent.” (A first-degree burn occurs only on the surface of the skin. A third-degree burn “extends to all layers of the skin,” according to the Wikipedia “Burn” article.)

The blue laser beam came from the slightly smaller ferry M/V Kitsap, which was traveling in the opposite direction.

Washington State Ferry MV Kitsap 328ft

A Kitsap deckhand had seen two men with the laser, and reported it to a Washington State Patrol trooper after arrival at the terminal in Mukilteo. One man told the officer that “it was a new toy and he was shining it at the water and didn’t mean to shine it at the vessel,” according to a WSP spokesperson. The trooper confiscated the laser pointer, shown here:

Blue laser Washington state ferry

The spokesperson said “This is not a typical laser you’d see in a classroom or office setting.” She referenced the manufacturer’s packaging which says to use safety glasses, to not aim it at faces, and that it could light a match if held on target long enough.

A similar-looking laser sold by Lasers-Pointers.com is said to be 5000 mW (5 watts) and costs less than $200:

Lasers-Pointers dot com 5W blue laser

The two captains exposed to the laser light missed one day of work. The suspect who had the laser has not yet been charged, as of October 29 2015. Prosecutors are determining what charges would be appropriate.

UPDATED - November 9 2015: No arrests have yet been made and no charges have been filed, more than two weeks after a suspect was picked up. This is due in part to determining what jursidiction applied, since the laser incident took place on ferries in waters between different Washington state counties. Another difficulty was determining what charge to file. A KIRO radio story also noted the limitations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates lasers. While FDA attempts to block some high-powered lasers, imports can get through. And, “there aren't any penalties for buying or owning those illegally high-powered devices, nor are there requirements for training for non-medical, non-industrial devices.” From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - April 18 2015: 27-year-old Mark Raden was charged with assault in the third degree, for aiming at the ferry captains. In addition, he has a previous history of run-ins with law enforcement over laser misuse. Details are here.

An analysis of the laser’s power and capabilities is below (click on the “read more” link).

From KOMO News, Q13Fox, the Kitsap Sun and Wikipedia. Ferry drawings and route map from Washington State Department of Transportation website. Laser pointer info from Lasers-Pointers.com.

Click to read more...

US: Paparazzi call police after Jennifer Garner's bodyguard aims a laser pointer at them

A bodyguard for Jennifer Garner aimed a green laser pointer at paparazzi photographers, who then called police. The August 11 2015 incident occurred at about 11:20 am in the small town of Covington, Georgia (pop. 13,347; 35 miles southeast of Atlanta) where the movie star was filming “Miracles from Heaven.”

According to the Covington News, the photographers told police that the laser light could possibly damage their camera sensors; they also “complained of headaches and said their eyes were starting to dilate.” Emergency medical responders told them “to take Tylenol for their headache.”

Because the local District Attorney’s office said that using a laser pointer was not a criminal offense (except when aimed at a law enforcement office or airplane), the photographers were told that it was a civil matter. No criminal charges were filed.

From the Covington News

US: Laser on gun pointed at teens by off-duty trooper

Two New Jersey teenagers say that on July 26 2015, a man with a gun followed them, they saw a laser being pointed at them, and then the man opened fire. The man later turned out to be an off-duty state trooper using what the state attorney general’s office says was his personal handgun.

From NJ.com

US: Tennessee man "nearly causes accident' aiming laser pointer at cars on Interstate

A 34-year-old Chattanooga (TN) man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at vehicles on Interstate 75.

A motorist called 911 to report that a male in the front passenger seat of a silver Honda was shining the laser onto cars and trucks. The caller said the laser made it difficult to see, and almost caused a crash involving an 18-wheel truck and another vehicle. The Honda was traveling northbound on I-75 in Bradley County, east of Chattanooga.

Officers located the car, where Gary Dewayne Couey admitted aiming the laser at other vehicles. He was arrested on a charge of felony reckless endangerment. The driver of the car, 34-year-old Brandi Rapier, was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Gary Dewayne Couey laser
Gary Dewayne Couey


From WDEF, the Chattanoogan, and the Times Free Press

US: San Mateo CA police report elderly man with cane aiming laser at cars around 3 am

The San Mateo County police report for June 29 2015 included this item:

  • BURLINGAME: Suspicious person. An elderly man with a cane was pointing a laser pointer at passing vehicles on Linden Avenue and Oak Grove Avenue before 2:50 a.m.

From the
San Mateo Daily Journal, published July 6 2015

US: Kentucky police shoot man who aimed gun, laser pointer at them

A 51-year-old Kentucky man who aimed a handgun and a laser pointer at state police was shot on May 9 2015.

Police executing a search warrant at an Eddyville home knocked on the door and identified themselves. John C. Smith came to the door, and aimed the gun and pointer at them. Police told him several times to drop the gun. He refused and was shot in the abdomen.

He lived but was taken to the intensive care unit at a Paducah hospital.

Police found crystal meth, several guns and a “large amount of cash” at the home.

From Kentucky.com

US: Florida man points laser at motorists, arrested, found with marijuana up his rear

A 27-year-old man was arrested on April 5 2015 for aiming a laser beam at motorists as he was driven by his girlfriend around Ormond Beach, Florida. When asked why she was being pulled over, driver Brandie Tate, 28, said “Because Jesse was shining the laser light at people and I told him not to.” Passenger Jesse Roepcke told police he did not know it was illegal to shine the light at people and “he was just having fun.”

Police found a smoking device on Roepke that later tested positive for cannabis. During a strip search of Roepcke at the jail, “a bag of a green leafy substance that smelled like marijuana fell out of his rectum.”

Jesse Roepcke laser marijuana
Jesse Roepcke


Roepke was charged with pointing a laser at a driver or pilot, possession or use of narcotic paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and smuggling contraband into a prison.

From ClickOrlando.com and WFTV.com

US: 3-car accident in Springfield Missouri said to be caused by laser light

A case where laser light caused a vehicular accident is described in a February 23 1999 ordinance filed in Springfield, Missouri.

Ordinance 4880 has an attached “Explanation to Amended Council Bill No. 99-61” which gives some reasons for the city’s restrictions on laser use and possession. One of the “local abuses” cited is the following:

  • “Another offense includes a three-car collision, where a young man pointed a laser light into the car ahead of him and startled the driver, causing him to slam on his brakes and cause a pileup.”


US: Colorado senior used laser pointer while stalking 10-year-old neighbor girl

A 67-year-old Green Mountain Falls, Colorado man convicted of stalking a 10-year-old neighbor girl, used a laser pointer as part of his crimes. Louis Pico aimed the pointer at the girl’s window at night. When she looked out, he would expose himself to the girl.

In addition, the man left notes, money and candy for the girl, and used binoculars to look into their home.

Louis Pico laser stalker
Louis Pico


To avoid having their child testify at a trial, the victim’s parents agreed to a plea bargain deal. Pico pleaded guilty to promotion of obscenity in a minor. He received a 30-day jail sentence, was registered as a sex offender, was forbidden to have any contact with persons 18 or younger, and was required to have mental health treatment.

From KKTV 11 News and The Gazette

US: Man stabbed in Pittsburgh after asking persons to stop shining laser pointer at him

A man in Pittsburgh was stabbed with a knife, after he approached two people and asked them to stop shining a laser pointer at him. The victim was with friends on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, around March 15 2015. After asking for the laser aiming to stop, the male suspect told the victim “You shouldn’t have walked up on us like that” and stabbed him in the upper arm with a blade about 5-6” long. The second suspect was a female. University of Pittsburgh campus police were asking for the public’s help in finding the suspects.

From CBS Pittsburgh

US: Voters briefly turned away from polls, due to laser pointer "weapon"

Voters in Donna, Texas were briefly turned away from a polling site at a school, after a student reported finding a “weapon”, on November 4 2014.

For about 25 minutes, the polls were closed while the “weapon” was located and was determined to be a laser pointer.

The incident occurred at the W.A. Todd Ninth Grade Campus.

From ValleyCentral.com

US: Railroad engineer wins $5.6M verdict; laser pointer peripherally involved

An Amtrak engineer was awarded $5.6 million on December 5 2014 by a jury who found the railroad company negligent for a situation that led to the man’s beating by a street gang. An unspecified part of the liability was assigned to a laser pointer incident.

On April 16 2007, Jacob Keating stopped his train to get a trespasser off the tracks. A group of gang members attacked Keating and the train’s conductor with rocks. The jury found Amtrak negligent, as they did not provide a safe work environment. The area had been known to the company as “a party place” for years; Amtrak did not repair a fence or put up lighting to reduce trespassing.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “Along with the beating, the panel also held Amtrak liable for an incident in 2010, after Keating had returned to work, when someone in West Sacramento flashed a laser pointer into his engine compartment. Keating testified that he thought he was about to be shot and that the laser flash ignited a new round of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Jurors assigned 6% of the blame to Keating, and 94% to Amtrak.

From the Sacramento Bee

US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games

In the week after widespread publicity when a laser was aimed at NFL Buffalo Bills players on Sunday October 5 2014, two other U.S. football-related incidents made the news. It is not known if these incidents were copycats, or were unrelated but were judged more newsworthy in the aftermath of the NFL case.

Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer


On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.

The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.

University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.

Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”

There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”

A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”

Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.

From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com

Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer


On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”

Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.

Map of Detroit area
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other


From MLive.com

US: Father of teen banned for NFL lasering asks police protection from opposing team's fans

The father of the teenager who aimed a laser at Buffalo Bills players during an October 5 2014 NFL football game has asked for police protection from harassing Bills fans, reports Michigan news source MLive.com.

According to reporter Eric Lacy, the father asked for help from police in West Bloomfield, a township in the Detroit metropolitan area, on October 10, one day after the Detroit Lions confirmed they had located the youth.

The name of the 17-year-old laser perpetrator was reported by ESPN, ABC News and other sources to be Mark (or Marko) Beslach of West Bloomfield. Before the October 5 NFL match in Detroit, a tweet from “@MarkoBeslach” said he was going to put a green light on Buffalo Bills players. After the game, a follow-up tweet said he “got Kyle Orton”, the Bills’ quarterback. The Twitter account was deleted later that day, but a screenshot of the two tweets was widely circulated on the Internet. According to Detroit Lions officials, the laser perpetrator was caught in part because of social media postings.

The Lions banned the youth from Ford Field “indefinitely”, and he was charged with disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor requiring payment of a small fine). The Lions also revoked the season tickets of the person who provided tickets to the perpetrator and had a “close relationship” with him, according to an earlier ESPN report.

The nature of the Bills fans’ harassment was not known. Calls by MLive.com to the family phone were not answered. MLive.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the West Bloomfield police department to get more information about the request for police assistance.

From MLive.com. Thanks to Dan Goldsmith for bringing this to our attention. LaserPointerSafety.com has additional stories about the original October 5 2014 incident, and the October 9 announcement by the Detroit Lions that they had found and punished the laser offender.

US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players

The NFL football fan who shined a green laser pointer beam at two players on October 5 2014, has been “banned indefinitely from attending all future events at Ford Field,” according to an October 9 press release from the Detroit Lions football team.

In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).

Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).

In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”

The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”

Marko Beslach ABC News laser pointer Lions Bills Orton
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”


In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.

A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.

Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”

The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.

The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.

Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.

Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.

From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.

US: UPDATED - Utah man with laser pointer taped to fake gun is shot by police

A 32-year-old Utah man who brandished a homemade fake gun with a fake laser pointer “sight”, was shot July 10 2014 by a police officer. The man, Timothy James Peterson, survived and was charged with second-degree felony assault against a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement.

On July 7, Peterson made a Facebook post where he threatened to kill police, and referenced being shot by police. Three days later, West Jordan police officer Ian Adams was patrolling a shopping center and saw Peterson, who ran. During the chase, Peterson turned and drew an object that looked like a handgun. Adams shot Peterson twice, once in the legs and once in the buttocks.

The object was found to be a piece of bent metal with a taped-on laser pointer.
Click to read more...

US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder

Someone in the stands of an American football game aimed a laser pointer at players on October 5 2014.

The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.

In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
Click to read more...

US: UPDATED: Laser said to cause serious eye injury at Burning Man 2014

A woman was blinded by a laser at the Burning Man art and technology festival, according to a September 5 2014 post by Richard W. DeVaul, head of Google’s Rapid Evaluation Team.

DeVaul’s colleague was working as a volunteer when she was struck in the left eye by a “high-power, hand-held green laser, most likely a 1W 532 nm toy from China”.

Burning Man took place August 25 through September 1, 2014, at Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. As of the September 5 post, DeVaul said the woman “still has not regained vision in her left eye and it is possible that she never will.”
Click to read more...

US: Ohio 7th grader may be expelled for gun-shaped laser pointer

A 7th grade student in Huber Heights, Ohio was arrested April 23 2013 for bringing a laser pointer shaped like a realistic gun to Weisenborn Middle School. The unnamed 12- or 13-year-old boy pointed the “laser gun” at two other students who became frightened and told the principle. Police arrested the boy; he faces criminal charges in juvenile court. He also may be expelled due to violating the school district’s policies about weapons or look-alikes.

gun-shaped laser pointer
An example of a gun-shaped laser pointer. This particular unit emits a 100 mW beam and costs USD $68. An Internet search turns up a wide variety of gun-shaped novelty and toy laser pointers, including some that also have a lighter built in, and a gag pointer that shocks the user when they pull the trigger.


From WDTN.com

US: UPDATED - 5th grader suspended for shining laser pointer in class

A 10-year-old elementary school student was suspended for three days, for shining a laser pointer on a classroom white board. Two days were spent out of school, and one day in the principal’s office. In addition, she was required to take a violence-deterrence class.

Laser pointers are forbidden in schools under California Penal Code section 417.27(b): “No student shall possess a laser pointer on any elementary or secondary school premises unless possession of a laser pointer on the elementary or secondary school premises is for a valid instructional or other school-related purpose, including employment.”
Click to read more...

US: 8th grader suspended for waving gun-shaped laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indiana boy was suspended for a week from his school, for waving a laser pointer in the school’s parking lot on September 11 2014. According to police, the pointer “could look like a gun.” (It is unknown if the pointer actually was gun-shaped like in the photo on this page, or if it was a different shape, such as the cylinder of a barrel, that could be mistaken for a gun, or part of a gun.)

A police spokesman said that laser pointers “are very dangerous in and of themselves, but anytime you have anything that looks like a firearm it’s obviously a danger and would be considered a credible threat.”

The boy obtained the laser pointer from a classmate, who was given a three day suspension.

A news story noted that it is illegal in Indiana to point a laser at a police officer, and recounted a previous incident when a student was arrested for shining a laser in the face of a school liaison officer.

From NWI.com

US: Florida man buys laser pointer; arrested hours later for aiming at motorists, officer

A Florida man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at motorists -- and eventually at a Daytona Beach Shores officer -- at about 12:30 am on June 16 2014. When told he had committed a felony, the man apologized to the officer, who accepted the apology. Nonetheless, Walter Nevarez, 22, of Lakeland, was charged with pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot.

Pic 2014-08-18 at 4.21.48 PM
Walter Nevarez


Nevarez had purchased the laser earlier in the evening. Riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s car, he began aiming the laser at oncoming cars, including the officer’s car.

After later told a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he did not know it was illegal to misuse a laser pointer. He said he had been pointing it at a treeline and did not intend it to shine it at anyone’s eyes.

A defense attorney quoted by the newspaper said “If you are going to criminalize the conduct or behavior, then the government needs to explain and make the public aware why their action poses a potential danger.”

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal

US: Laser pointer on home; Tulsa woman investigates and is shot

A woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma was shot in her leg after investigating a laser pointer being aimed onto her house. She went to a hospital, was found to be in fair condition, and was released after a few hours.

On May 22 2014, at about 10:30 pm, 50-year-old Dawn Adams went out her back door to investigate the laser light on her home. She asked the person to stop because the laser dot was upsetting the family dogs. They heard gunshots and thought the person might have shot the dogs. Adams and her son Philip Klimcak, 23, went outside and saw a person dressed in dark clothes who started walking the length of the house, “spraying bullets the whole way.” (Neighbors reported hearing about six shots; a reporter later found almost a dozen holes in the house.)

Klimcak pushed his mother back to protect her. A bullet went through the home structure and into Adams’ leg.

Dawn Adams Philip Klimcak Tulsa laser pointer home
Philip Klimcak, in dark clothing, speaks with KTUL reporter Caitlin Alexander outside his mother’s home.


Police believe the weapon was a pistol. They are looking for a suspect, but do not have a good description. Klimcak said it may have been a gang initiation.

There was no immediate information regarding whether the laser was on the pistol or was a separate stand-alone device.

From KTUL.com, Tulsa World, and KJRH.com

US: High school report of handgun turns out to be a laser pointer

Police officers responded to a call at a Kansas City, Kansas school on May 8 2014. A person with a handgun and laser sight had been reported at Wyandotte High School. Surveillance video, however, showed that the “suspect” had a laser pointer and not a gun.

From the Kansas City Star

US: Man arrested for aiming laser at drivers

A 21-year-old was arrested February 26 2014 for aiming a green laser into cars the night before. The incidents occurred in Newton, Massachusetts.

The unnamed man was charged with disorderly conduct and with assault and battery. Although there were also two reports of a green laser being aimed from the Newton area at aircraft, the man was not charged or associated directly with those incidents.

A hearing is scheduled for March 25 in Newton District Court.

From the Boston Globe

US: Maine man aims fake gun with laser pointer at cars; is arrested

A 22-year-old Maine man was arrested January 11 2014 for aiming a replica gun, which emits a laser beam from the barrel, at passing motorists including a police officer.

Replica gun laser pointer
The replica gun, emitting a red laser beam, used to harass motorists.


The officer was on patrol in Kittery, a seaside town at the southern tip of Maine, when he saw a red laser beam in his cruiser. He then saw the beam on other vehicles as well.

The officer pulled up behind the car of Seth Christman, and arrested him. Christman was charged with criminal use of a laser pointer under Maine Title 17-A Sec. 1002-A. The Class D misdemeanor prohibits intentionally pointing a laser beam at a police officer or a “reasonable person” for the purpose of intimidating and attempting to harm.

Christman’s next hearing in York District Court is set for March 5 2014.

From SeacoastOnline

US: Child suffers eye injuries from adult misusing high-powered blue laser

A 9-year-old boy was injured by an adult who directed a 1.25 watt handheld blue laser into his eyes. The boy’s vision was initially 20/126 in the right eye and 20/100 in the left. After a week, the left eye returned to 20/20 vision; after two months the right eye improved to 20/25.

The case was reported in JAMA Ophthalmalogy under the title “Ocular Safety of Recreational Lasers.” Authors Glenn Yiu, Sujit Itty and Cynthia Toth are with the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

They described the boy’s injuries as being caused by a Spyder III Pro Arctic “a class 4, high-powered 1250 mW laser that is manufactured from the 445 nm blue diode of a dismantled home theater projector and that is commercially available for online purchase from overseas.” This brand of laser is manufactured by the company Wicked Lasers; an 800 mW version was reviewed here.

In the case they described, “the adult directed the laser at the child’s eyes in jest, unaware of the harmful consequences.”

Pic 2014-01-10 at 12.04.02 AM
A copy of the safety label that appears on a Wicked Laser Spyder III Pro Arctic, containing the IEC and U.S. FDA-mandated wording for a Class 4 laser: “Avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered radiation”


According to the authors, “imaging studies suggest that the laser damage was limited to superficial retinal vessels with no involvement of the underlying retinal pigment epithelium or choroid. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a continuous wave laser in the visible spectrum–damaging retinal vessels without affecting the retinal pigment epithelium, the site where damage from visible lasers typically occurs.”

They speculate that this may be caused by greater absorption of shorter wavelength lasers by hemoglobin, or a defocusing of the laser due to chromatic aberration and myopia in a child.

The authors conclude that “with the expanding use of lasers in nonoccupational or recreational settings, escalation of laser safety awareness and consumer laser regulations is paramount to prevent future ocular laser injuries.”

From JAMA Ophthalmology, published online January 09, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.5647. Thanks to Dr. David Hunter for bringing this to our attention.

US: Man arrested for lasing a driver who suffers blurry vision

A driver had a laser beam aimed into his car about a dozen times, coming from another car. The beam hit the first driver’s inside rearview mirror and went into his right eye.

He contacted police, who were able to catch up with him and the other car. The first driver said he had blurry vision in his right eye and was going to follow up with his eye doctor.

The driver of the other car, Michael R. Fierke, 26, was found to have a “small package for a laser” on the front seat. Fierke was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The incident occurred April 9 2013 in Downers Grove, Illinois, a village 22 miles west of Chicago.

From the Downers Grove Patch

US: UPDATED - NY state homeland security head uses laser gunsight as pointer in presentation

New York state’s director of homeland security, Jerome M. Hauer, reportedly used the laser sight on his handgun as a laser pointer, during an October 24 2013 presentation in Albany to a foreign delegation.

The Albany Times-Union reported on January 6 2014 that “...three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.” Two persons “...moved quickly out of the line of the laser when he brought out the gun.”

There were no reported injuries from the incident.

Hauer has not denied the incident, although New York state press officials have not provided any additional explanation or details.

The Times-Union said Hauer had a stroke and “can be unsteady”. The laser was mounted on a loaded 9-millimeter Glock that he carries into state buildings, “... an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons into the workplace.”

Hauer is commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He was director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management from 1996 to 2000, and was Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness within the Department of Health and Human Services from 2002 to 2004. He is approximately 61 years old as of January 2014.

From the Albany Times-Union and the Wikipedia article on Jerome Hauer

UPDATED January 7 2014, 1:45 pm: Hauer told the New York Post that the weapon was empty and was used because there were no laser pointers nearby: “In the end, I used the laser gun. Was it the smartest thing in the world do [sic]? Absolutely not.... No one in the room was rattled. The gun was never aimed at anyone. I would never point an empty firearm at anyone, let alone a loaded gun. I was pointing directly at the wall. The gun was never aimed at anyone.”

US: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest

A 20-year-old man used a green laser pointer to harass persons playing soccer indoors in Naperville, Illinois, on December 22 2013. When confronted by an officer, Raul Marquez resisted arrest and injured the officer’s shoulder.

According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.

Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.

From the Naperville Sun

US: Calif. train crew reports laser pointer

A train crew reported that a laser pointer was aimed at the head of a train in Martinez, California, a town about 23 miles northeast of San Francisco. The incident happened about 1:15 am on December 27 2013. Police did not find the perpetrators.

From the Martinez (Ca.) News-Gazette

US: Referee stops ACC championship football game due to laser pointer on quarterback

The Atlantic Coast Conference college football championship game on December 7 2013 was stopped briefly after a green laser pointer was aimed at the helmet of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

The light, coming from the player’s left side, briefly hit his eye area. It probably did not enter his pupil due to the side angle. Here is an image captured from video.

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 01

The laser was aimed primarily at his helmet:

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 02

The referee stopped the game, announcing over the public address system “There is a laser being pointed on the field from the stands. It needs to be stopped with security please. Take a look at section 343.”

From CollegeSpun.com

US: College football player threatens officer with laser pointer; is arrested and suspended

Braxton Lane, a defensive back for the University of Cincinnati, was arrested September 29 2013 for threatening a police offer with a laser pointer.

At 5:00 am, police responded to a call at a house near the university. Lane, 22, got into a verbal dispute with an officer. He said he would shoot an officer and then aimed a laser pointer from a second-story window at the officer, who felt threatened by potential physical harm. The officer called for backup.

Pic 2013-09-30 at 6.29.04 PM

Lane was arrested, and the next day was released on $15,000 bond. A hearing on the charges of menacing and inducing panic was set for October 11. Lane, who had not yet played in any UC football games, was also suspended from the team indefinitely.

From WLWT.com and Fox19

US: "Criminal mischief" for Ohio man who aimed laser at neighbor's surveillance camera

A man in Barberton, Ohio was issued a court summons for criminal mischief on September 3 2013, for using a laser to damage a neighbor’s surveillance camera. On August 19 2013, the motion sensor on the camera was disabled by a laser beam that was pointed at it. On August 22, the neighbor showed police a video from the surveillance camera, identifying a suspect. Police talked with him and the man admitted aiming the laser at the camera. The case will be heard in Barberton Municipal Court.

From Ohio.com

US: Coast Guard patrol boat hit by "blue, green laser" in Clearwater

From a U.S. Coast Guard press release dated August 11 2013:

Coast Guard boatcrew targeted with laser near Clearwater, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sand Key was targeted with a laser from the shore approximately one mile southwest of Clearwater, Sunday [August 11 2013].

The station informed the station's watchstanders at 10:18 p.m., reporting the 25-foot Response Boat — Small boat crew experienced a three to four second blue, green laser burst while on patrol in the area. The entire crew experienced loss of night vision and half the crew received a direct hit from the laser.

The boat crew had to return to the station and receive eye exams.

Click to read more...

US: Angry teen aims laser at car, causing eye pain and flashblindness

A 19-year-old man was arrested August 2 2013 after he aimed a laser pointer at a car with five occupants, causing eye pain to one passenger and causing another to be temporarily blinded.

Trenton Demoor was angry because a coffee shop in Parkland, Washington refused him service at the drive-through window, because Demoor was on foot. He began screaming at employees. He then aimed a laser pointer at the car when the driver asked what the argument was about. Demoor yelled “You guys want to get shot?”, and then lased two of the passengers.

He was arrested on five counts of illegally discharging a laser and possession of methamphetamines. Bail was set at $30,000.

US: Motocross rider's brother said to aim laser pointer at rivals during race

A professional motocross organization issued fines totaling $15,500 plus additional penalties after the brother of competitor Mike Alessi was accused of aiming a green laser pointer into the eyes of his brother’s rivals just before a race began. The incident occurred July 20 2013 during the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, held in Washington state.

A video from the helmet cam of one of the targeted racers shows green flashes on his front visor, just before the starting gate drops. In addition, a photo taken at the same time shows a green glow above a distant spectator’s shoulder (circled in yellow below).

Pic 2013-07-31 at 5.52.25 PM

After the race, riders complained to MX Sports, the event organizer. Race personnel went through the crowd and soon found a retired pro racer with a green laser pointer in his hand.

Jeff Alessi initially denied the laser attack and tried to blame his girlfriend. A race official confiscated the laser and Alessi’s credentials which turned out to belong to his father. Later, an argument ensued which was captured on video, between Alessi and his father, and a journalist.

On July 22, MX Sports suspended Jeff Alessi’s eligibility and fined him $500. His father was suspended for the rest of the outdoor season. Alessi’s brother Mike, who competed in the disputed race, was fined $10,000 for the laser incident and $5,000 for transferring his father’s credentials to his brother.

The laser was described by MX Sports as “a powerful green laser pointer torch, capable of reaching considerable distance.”

Click to read more...

US: Teen awakened by burglar aiming laser gunsight at him

A 19-year-old youth was awakened in his Sandy Springs, Georgia, home by a burglar. On June 20 2013, the teen saw a red dot from a laser gunsight, a few feet away. The burglar shouted at him to go back to his room. A Sandy Springs police spokesperson said “From what he [the teen] said that laser pointer or that laser on the gun was pointing at him on the wall.”

No shots were fired. The burglar left with thousands of dollars in jewelry, driving away with an accomplice. Police are searching for the suspect.

From Fox30Jax.com

US: Man buys pointer at Dallas Walmart, immediately aims at officer and is arrested

The Dallas Observer blog relates a story of a man who purchased a red laser pointer at a Dallas area Walmart, and immediately aimed it at a uniformed Dallas police officer. The officer had “temporary blindness” according to the story. The man, identified only as “Mr. Evans” was arrested and given a ticket with a fine of up to $500. The incident occurred at 3:45 am on April 11 2013.

From the Dallas Observer. As of April 12 2013, LaserPointerSafety.com has not been able to find any other source for this story, including news articles and the Dallas Police Department website.

US: Man says laser aimed 1/4 mile away caused retinal injury

A San Francisco man says a laser beam aimed from a distance of 1/4 mile caused a permanent injury in his right eye in December 2012. He now uses a magnifying glass, and a computer keyboard with larger letters to do his job.

Tris Thomson laser eye injury

Tris Thomson of San Francisco was in the Mexican Riviera on a sailboat at sunset, when someone in an apartment building aimed a green laser at the boat. Thomson felt “a slight bit of pain in the eyeball. A little searing, like almost you get burnt real quickly or something,” he told KTVU TV, which reported that an “eye x-ray” showed a black blotch on his retina.

The news story quoted ophthalmologist Dr. Vineet Batra as saying that he “sees patients injured by laser pointers about once a month.”

From KTVU.com. For an analysis of this case by LaserPointerSafety.com, click the “Read More…” link. Thanks to Capt. Dan Hewett of the FDA/CDRH for bringing this to our attention, and to Greg Makhov of LSDI for assistance with the analysis.

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US: Student charged with laser pointer assault at high school

On Feb. 27 2013, a youth was involved in a laser pointer incident at Brookfield (CT) High School. Around March 19 2013, he was formally charged in juvenile court with 3rd degree assault and with illegal use of a laser pointer. The name of the youth and details were not released.

From the Brookfield Patch

US: UPDATED - St. Louis teen given probation for Aug 2012 lasing of baseball players

A 17-year-old who aimed a laser at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player and manager in an August 6 2012 incident, pleaded guilty on December 14 to disturbing the peace at an athletic event. As part of a plea agreement announced January 4 2013, Eric Bogard was sentenced to six months probation, 20 hours of community service, and paying $500 restitution to the Cardinals. If he remains on good behavior, his arrest record will be expunged; otherwise he would have a permanent record and could be jailed.

The plea agreement dropped a second charge of using a laser beam to harass or annoy another person. He could have been fined up to $500 and been jailed for between 30 and 90 days (sources differ as to the maximum sentence for this offense).

Bogard’s lawyer said his client made “an extreme error in judgement”. He also said that Bogard was not the person “who actually did most of the harassing [and] disturbing the peace.”

A St. Louis official said the plea agreement had been cleared with the baseball Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional information is at LaserPointerSafety.com’s original story. It includes an August 17 update about the resignation of the person who controlled the stadium suite where the laser pointer misuse originated.

US: Teen partially blinded in one eye due to laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indianapolis-area boy lost part of the central vision in his left eye, after he shined a green laser pointer into a mirror and looked into the beam. Ross Vanderpool received the laser, whose power is unknown, in the summer of 2012 from a friend who bought it in Italy. He enjoyed playing with the laser. But the morning after looking directly into the beam, he woke up with a black dot in his vision. Vanderpool told a reporter about the vision loss: “If I close my right eye and look straight, I can’t see your nose, but I can see your mouth and earrings.”

Retinal specialist Dr. Ramana Moorthy saw a “yellowish kind of spot here with yellow black flecks [that] shouldn’t be there.” She said the injury was permanent. The boy’s father said he considered the laser pointer a toy, and that he had no idea that laser light was dangerous. He said other parents should throw away their children’s pointers.

From WTHR.com. Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

US: UPDATED - Teen arrested for lasing at Cardinals baseball game

A 17-year-old fan wielding a laser pointer at a major league baseball game was identified by a manager, and was arrested on a charge of “peace disturbance at an athletic event,” a misdemeanor. The Cardinals-Giants game took place August 6 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny saw a green dot on the pitcher’s mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. He saw the teen in a luxury suite near the first base line and mouthed “I see you” to him. The boy then aimed the laser over Matheny’s head. Security followed the teen and two of his friends as they tried to ditch the laser pointer in a trash can; it was later recovered. The boy was apprehended and spent a few hours in jail. The Cardinals will also take action against the owners of the suite where the teens sat.

Police said they would seek criminal charges against the unidentified teen.

Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux said he did not see the laser light, although a teammate said he saw green light on Loux’s face.

The Cardinals’ director of security said lasing a player can be dangerous because of the possibility of blinding and because “when you go into what's been going on in the country right now, it's totally irresponsible to pretend you've got laser sights on somebody."

From KMOV, Examiner.com, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

UPDATE August 8 2012: The teen was identified as Eric Bogard, a high-school student in Ladue, “the wealthiest inner-ring suburb of St. Louis” according to the city’s Wikipedia entry. Bogard’s lawyer said the laser was never directly pointed at anyone and that Bogard was part of “kids in the box acting foolish. Acting like kids.” The lawyer said Bogard “regrets his actions.”

Bogard was originally charged with disturbing the peace at an athletic event. This carries a fine of $25 to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. On August 8, he was also charged with violating the harassment section of a 1999 ordinance regulating laser use and possession. The section states “It shall be unlawful for any person to focus, point or shine laser beam directly or indirectly on another person or animal in such a manner as to harass, annoy or injure such person or animal.” This carries a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. From Fox2Now, KSDK and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Eric Bogard laser
Eric Bogard, via Fox2Now


UPDATE 2, August 17 2012: The stadium suite was used by a Mercy Health System executive. She resigned her position after publicity about the incident, during which she was confrontational with stadium authorities. With regard to the teen, Eric Bogard, police say there is “no additional movement” in the case. From the Creve Coeur Patch.

US: Teen issued a citation for lasing Myrtle Beach officer

Raymond Andrew Delossantos, a 19-year-old from Huntington, West Virginia was cited for aiming a laser pointer at a Myrtle Beach S.C. police officer on July 31, 2012. The teen was in a car traveling on a city road. Green laser light was being aimed out of the car. The light hit the officer in the eyes. He stopped the car; Delossantos admitted aiming the laser out the window. The device, estimated to cost $50, was confiscated and Delossantos was issued a citation.

From Myrtle Beach Online

US: California pre-teen stopped from pointing laser at cars

On July 12 2012, in the San Francisco bedroom community of Tracy, California, a 12-year-old boy was aiming a laser pointer from his roof, onto passing cars. Police were called; the boy’s mother took away his pointer and told the officers it would not happen again. The boy was released to his mother’s custody.

From the Tracy Press

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Laser pointer aimed into neighbor's window in Mass.

The Burlington (Massachusetts) Police Department log for July 10 2012 has an entry that “At At 9:37 p.m. a caller from Wing Terrace reported a next door neighbor is shining a laser pointer into her bedroom window.”

From BurlingtonPatch.com

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: UPDATED - Calif. woman arrested for pointing laser at fire engine

A woman was arrested for pointing a laser at a fire truck that was responding to a call, and then again as they returned to the fire house on June 30 2012. Irene Marie Levy, 31, of San Jacinto, California was charged with pointing a laser at a moving vehicle. She was also charged with violating her probation on a previous conviction of making fake bomb threats and interfering with emergency radio dispatches in 2010. Bail in the laser incident was set at $25,000.

There was no reason given for Levy’s use of the laser pointer against the driver of the fire truck.

Irene Levy laser
Irene Marie Levy


From KABC and the Press-Enterprise

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2012: Levy was arrested on November 2 2012 for aiming a laser at a police cruiser, then at the sheriff’s department helicopter sent to investigate. More on this story is here.

US: Again, laser hits San Diego harbor officer who goes to hospital

For the second time in a month, a green laser pointer was aimed at a San Diego Harbor Police boat, sending an officer to the hospital. On May 23 2012, a young adult partying on the beach pointed a laser pointer at the boat, which was about 1/2 mile offshore. An officer was hit by a “powerful” beam. Ground units scaled down cliffs to apprehend the man. He said he did not realize the hazard and did not know he had done an illegal act. The man was issued a citation for intentionally lasing the boat.

A Harbor Police spokesperson told LaserPointerSafety.com “neither officer was injured in the latest incident” and “the laser used in this incident was much less powerful than the one used” in the May 4 2012 lasing, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center after their boat was lased. One officer was said to have had a temporary injury in one eye.

2012-05 San Diego incident locations
Approximate locations of the lasers (green triangles) and Harbor Police boats (red squares).


From 10news.com

US: Teen arrested for pointing a laser at an officer

A Mililani, Hawaii teenager was arrested for aiming a laser at an off-duty Honolulu police officer on May 9 2012. The laser beam hit the officer in the face and eyes while he was driving. It is unknown if other motorists were also targeted or hit. The 15-year-old was charged with possession of a laser by a minor, harassment by laser and reckless endangerment.

From KITV.com

US: UPDATED - San Diego harbor officers injured by laser

Two San Diego Harbor Police officers were injured by a green laser beam, while on routine patrol in Point Loma, at about 8:30 pm May 4 2012.

Officers Jennifer McMaster and Robert Twardy were patrolling near the Shelter Island Fishing Pier when both illuminated directly in their right eye. Twardy said “I noticed that I had a bright spot, like a residual flash that you kind of get when a camera flashes in your eye.” He suffered a “burning sensation”. Both officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.

Twardy said that McMaster had a more direct hit, was in pain, and complained of blindness. She had possible burns to her retinas, and took time off to recover, according to the Los Angeles Times. She will make a full recovery, according to an NBC San Diego story. [See Update 1, at the bottom of this story after clicking the “Read More” link, for more medical information.]
Click to read more...

US: Long Island resident harassed by laser pointer

The police blotter in Northport, Long Island, NY includes an entry where a resident reported that a youth was aiming a laser pointer at his television. The report states that “The officer located the parent of the subject who was pointing the laser. The subject was warned and admonished on hers son's behavior.” The incident happened April 17 2012.

From the Northport Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.

US: Laser pointed at stranger's chest in Myrtle Beach

Two men in a car pointed a red laser at two intoxicated men waiting for a taxi, at about 2:45 am March 18 2012, according to a Myrtle Beach (SC) police report. One of the intoxicated men was “tagged in the chest” at a distance of about 100 feet by what they assumed was a gun with a laser sight. (They did not see a gun.) The car drove away before police arrived.

From
Myrtle Beach Online. Note that there have been many reports of laser pointer harassment and misuse against aircraft in Myrtle Beach. The town passed an ordinance in late September 2011, making it a misdemeanor to aim a laser at a person, animal or vehicle, and restricting possession by and sales to minors. A similar ordinance passed in nearby North Myrtle Beach.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Suspicious red laser pointer in Mass. bathroom

“March 12, 2012, 2:54 a.m. A call was received from the Massachusetts State Police regarding a break in. A caller had called the state police reporting two shadows on the shade of the basement window on Franklin Street. Caller said he did not see any actual people, but he did see a red laser pointer in his bathroom.”

From the Mansfield, Mass. police log, as reported by Mansfield Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Mass. teen bullied, injured with laser pointer leaves school

An Attleboro, Mass. teenager has left her high school after repeated bullying culminated in a laser pointer incident which left her with pain and blurred vision in one eye.

In early February 2012, a male student was flashing a number of students with a laser pointer. Noelle-Marie Harrington, 16, was flashed in the eye. She went to an emergency room and to an ophthalmologist for evaluation. As of early March 2012, her vision is back to normal.

The boy was suspended for two days. However, the boy’s friends bullied Harrington. She had previously been bullied in middle school, as well as in high school. Harrington’s mother said the school was unable to stop the bullying, and in early March she withdrew her daughter from Attleboro High School.

From the Sun Chronicle

US: UPDATED - Parent at HS game aims laser at opposing team; charged with disturbing the peace

A parent aimed a green laser pointer into the eyes of players on a high school hockey team, possibly helping defeat the team. The parent was made to leave and was later banned from attending future sporting events. No charges have been brought as of March 1 2012.

On February 29, a Division I girls’ hockey playoff game took place in the Boston-area town of Winthrop, Mass. Parents of the Medway-Ashland team told FOX 25 TV news that a Winthrop parent was using a laser pointer “through the game” and especially in the third period. School officials noticed the laser and escorted the parent out.

Winthrop’s athletic director said no players were hit by the laser “as far as he knew.” FOX 25 reported that the pointer did go into the eyes of players, and that a Medway-Ashland goalie reportedly had headaches after the game.

The laser could have affected the score, since Medway-Ashland had been leading early in the third period, but Winthrop came back in the final minutes to win 3-1. M-A parents wanted like the game replayed, and the coach claimed that five or six M-A players said they were distracted by the laser during the game. Winthrop’s athletic director denied that the laser had any effect on the score. The game will be reviewed but the TV news reported that “it is unlikely the outcome will be reversed.”

From FOX 25 News and Wicked Local Medway We have put up a special page here at LaserPointerSafety.com which gives additional facts and informed commentary about this case.

UPDATE, March 2 2012:
  • The superintendent of Winthrop schools wants criminal charges filed against the laser-pointing dad. The official has turned a videotape of the game over to police.
  • The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association says the game will stand. MIAA issued a letter denying an appeal by Medway-Ashland parents, based on referees saying the game was fair.
  • CBS WBZ-TV quoted Medway-Ashland goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “It’s kind of like when you look at the sun and then you look away you see that spot and you can’t see for a couple of seconds. You shake your head and try to get it out of your system and just keep focusing, but it’s difficult.” Hamer and her father said the laser directly affected her ability to defend against Winthrop’s first goal.

From FOX 25 News and CBS Boston

UPDATE 2, March 3 2012: FOX 25 is reporting that a laser pointer was used in a similar way during in a game one year ago against Winthrop. A former coach of the Wilmington High School girls’ hockey team says the 8th grade goalie complained about the laser pointer being flashed in her eyes. The coach discussed this with Winthrop’s coach, who later told him “the problem was taken care of” so no complaint was filed. It is not known if the parent ejected after the Feb. 29 2012 incident is the same person from the Wilmington game a year ago. From FOX 25 News and 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 3, March 4 2012: WHDH TV confirmed that the man ejected during the Wilmington game in 2011 was the same person who was ejected during the Medway-Ashland game. From 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 4, March 7 2012: Joseph Cordes, 42, will be arraigned on a criminal charge of disturbing the peace. He told CBS station WBZ that he “I feel like a complete jerk. It was very stupid, completely immature….” and that he had humiliated his daughter.

Joseph Cordes laser pointer hockey game
Screen capture of Joseph Cordes, from WBZ-TV


The Boston Globe quoted the father of goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “I’m not sure if disturbing the peace is quite enough, because I think this man had a malicious intent.” Phillip Hamer has not decided whether to file civil charges. He said his daughter had “momentary confusion” from the laser exposure, but is “fine now.” From the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, and CBS Boston WBZ-TV.
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US: UPDATED - Man showing laser sight to wife shoots, kills her

A man was demonstrating the laser sight on his AK-47 assault rifle to his wife when the gun fired, killing her. The death, apparently accidental, occurred on February 21 2012.

The Flagler County (FL) Sheriff’s Office said that William Merrill, 32, and his wife Stefanie were at their Palm Coast, Florida home in their master bathroom while their 3-year-old daughter was taking a bath. Merrill pointed the AK-47 at his wife to show her the laser’s beam. The two were talking about how bright the beam was when the gun fired once. Stefanie died at the scene.

Pic 2012-02-23 at 10.46.01 PM
William Merrill


On February 23, Merrill was arrested for manslaughter and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had been convicted in 2007 on grand theft and other charges.

From the Orlando Sentinel

UPDATED October 30 2012 - William Merrill was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The minimum he could have received was 10 years, and the maximum was 30 years.

The “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” charge was dropped when Merrill pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge. (He could have received up to 45 years if given the maximum under both charges.)

During trial the prosecutor said “I don’t believe, and it’s not our position that Mr. Merrill intentionally killed his wife that morning.” But, he said, Merrill’s actions were egregiously reckless and disregarded safety.

When pronouncing sentence, the judge noted that Merrill had a stash of over 20 firearms and he violated the most basic of firearm rules. The judge concluded that it did not matter if it was an accident, Merrill was guilty of killing his wife.

From FlaglerLive.com

US: Juvenile temporarily blinds officer, who remains out for evaluation

A police officer in Montville (NJ) was temporarily blinded by a green laser pointer wielded by a juvenile in a February 8 2012 incident. As of February 17, the officer remains off duty for evaluation. The juvenile was charged with aggravated assault and interfering with transportation.

Patrolman Jason Blustein was driving to investigate a burglar alarm when the beam went into his left eye and he “briefly lost vision.” Blustein continued to the alarm site where he found it was a false alarm. He then went to the home where the beam had been aimed from a second-floor window. He spoke with a woman who called her son downstairs. A laser pointer was confiscated and the boy was arrested. Police say “the juvenile was upset and said he didn’t mean it.”

From the Montville NJ Patch

US: 21-year-old arrested for aiming a laser at an officer

A 21-year-old was arrested February 6 2012 for aiming a laser pointer at a police officer and a marked squad car in Canton, Ohio. Jeremy L. Wiser also had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a drug paraphernalia charge. He was also arrested for the outstanding warrant.

Bond was set at $240. He will appear in court on March 1.

From the Canton Daily Ledger

US: Maine man sentenced to 10 days for pointing laser gunsight at police

A 28-year-old man received a 10-day jail sentence on February 8 2012, for aiming a laser gunsight at a police officer. Moses Rollins pleaded guilty to reckless conduct and criminal use of a laser. The reckless conduct charge was deferred; if he complies with a one-year agreement, he will not be convicted. Rollins’ 10-day jail sentence for criminal use of a laser begins March 9.

On May 10 2011, police were called to a barn in New Sharon. They found two intoxicated men were firing shots for about an hour. One man came out and was arrested. The gunshots continued. At one point, a laser pointer was aimed at police and at a cruiser. After Rollins exited the barn and was arrested, police found a 30-30 rifle with an attached laser scope.

From the Sun Journal

US: Road rage laser in passenger's eyes, then bullets in car

In a road rage incident February 12 2012, four Cincinnati-area teenagers were targeted first by a laser that hit the front seat passenger in the eyes, then by bullets that shattered the window glass and hit one of the teens in the leg. Driver Grady Black said of the other car’s driver "He was in the right lane I was in the left lane and they flipped him off out of the window and the next thing you know he shined the laser into the car, we thought it was just a laser pointer and I hear the window shatter and I took off."

It turned out that the light was from a laser sight on the gun. The injured teenager, Kevin Boegeman, appears to be “alright all things considered.” The perpetrator has not been found as of February 13.

From WKRC Cincinnati

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Tenn. man says laser was really LED on a taser

A 39-year-old Tennessee man was jailed for aggravated assault and for pointing a laser at a police officer in a February 4 2011 incident in Murfreesboro. A couple reported that a man was pointing a gun at them. When police responded and questioned Daniel Timothy Harrison, he pointed a taser with an attached laser at an officer, according to police accounts.

Harrison disputes the charges. Regarding the laser, he said “There wasn’t a laser attached to the taser anywhere. This is one of those tasers that has a little LED flashlight on the end of it, where you can push the button kind of like one of those key-chain LED flashlights.”

Harrison will appear before a judge in May, and is confident that “the truth will come out in the end.”

From DNJ.com

Note about whether tasers include lasers: A quick check of a feature chart at the Taser website shows that all three of their consumer models, C2, X26C and M26C include lasers which help in aiming the device. The C2 also includes one LED light for general illumination while the X26C has two LED lights.
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US: Minor laser pointer incident in Concord NH Dunkin' Donuts

A 20-year-old Concord (NH) man was arrested January 6 2012 on a bench warrant and for “conduct involving laser pointers”. Stephen C. Hall was arrested at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

From Patch.com

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Road rage results from laser aimed into motorist's mirror

From the Carlisle, Pennsyslvania police log:

“No one was injured in a crash in the parking lot of Papa John’s on Hanover Street at 2:27 p.m. Dec. 29 [2011]. Paul B. Matter, 23, of Carlisle told police that he attempted to prevent Derek Pospisil, 30, of Carlisle from leaving the parking lot because Pospisil had been shinning a laser pointer into Matter’s mirrors while they were driving down the road earlier. Pospisil did not stop when Matter blocked his path. No one was charged because the parking lot is private property.”

Via The Sentinel

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Man points gun with laser sight in New Hampshire road rage incident

In what police describe as a road rage incident, a driver on Interstate 93 in Sanbornton, New Hampshire pointed a handgun with a laser sight at another driver. 48-year-old John Spyros Privolos, a Massachusetts resident, was arrested in the December 29 2011 incident. A handgun with a grip-activated laser sight was found in Privolos’ possession.

John Spyros Privolos laser
Charged with driving without a valid license, and criminal threatening


From
WMUR TV

US: Laser pointer confiscated from misbehaving Ohio boy

Police in Strongsville (Ohio) were called on December 29 2011 about groups of kids who were throwing snowballs and eggs. Police found one group and escorted them to a home where they were spending the night. A laser pointer was confiscated from one of the kids.

From
Strongsville Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Drunk arrested on Christmas Eve for lasing police car

On Christmas Eve 2011, an apparently intoxicated man repeatedly aimed a green laser pointer at a police officer sitting in his parked patrol car at the Southington (Connecticut) fire department headquarters. The officer initially thought the green light was from a traffic signal changing. He then saw a green dot on the windshield and realized it was from a laser pointer across the street. Backup was called in, and 35-year-old Kevin R. King was identified as the perpetrator.

King said he was “kidding around” while demonstrating the laser to friends. He was given a $75 ticket for shining a laser pointer to harass or alarm. A court date of January 13 was set for Bristol Superior Court.

From MyRecordJournal.com and Southington Patch

US: NY residents report red laser shined into home

The Scarsdale (New York) police department received a call from two residents reporting that a man dressed in black shined a red laser into their home. Police units investigated but could find no sign of the man or the laser pointer.

From Scarsdale Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Drivers in Pa. lased by two teens

Two teenagers in a vehicle were arrested December 2 2011 for aiming a green laser pointer at cars in Myerstown, Pennsylvania (about midway between Harrisburg and Reading). Police were called to the scene by motorists; the responding state police trooper was hit in the eyes by the teens. Nicolo P. Vivona, 19, and William E. Eckart III, 18, were charged with recklessly endangering another person, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

From ABC27 and Reading Eagle

US: 90 days for Washington state man who used a blue 1 watt laser on an officer

Daniel P. McBride, 32, of Cosmopolis, Washington, was sentenced on October 24 2011 to 90 days in jail for second-degree unlawful discharge of a blue 1-watt Wicked Lasers Spyder III Arctic laser. The incident happened in January 2011 during a traffic stop in Montesano. McBride had also been charged with assaulting an officer; that charge was dropped in a plea bargain agreement.

As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that McBride continue mental therapy even after he completes his sentence.

Original story from KXRO Newsradio. Remainder of story pieced together from searching “laser” at the Daily World paid website.
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US: 12-year-old charged with assault for laser pointer attack on classmate

A 12-year-old male was charged with felonious assault, for shining a laser pointer into the eye of a 13-year-old female classmate at Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The girl did not immediately report the October 5 2011 incident, but waited until after she had pain in her eye and blurred vision. Her parents took her to the hospital and then to an eye specialist. They reported the incident to police on October 11. As of October 12, she still had blurred vision; the status of her eye is unknown.

From
Cleveland.com

US: Oregon man aims laser-sighted gun at deputy

Michael Coats, 48, was arrested October 10 2011 after he lased a sheriff’s deputy with the red dot from a laser-sighted .45 semi-automatic pistol. Coats said he aimed the laser and gun because the lights from the patrol vehicle were disturbing him. He was charged with menacing, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a firearm, and pointing a weapon. The incident happened in Jefferson, Marion County, Oregon.

Pic 2011-10-23 at 12.23.13 PM
Michael Coats

From KVAL.com

US: Student injures policeman's eye during class lecture

A 16-year-old student has been charged with third-degree assault and battery after he aimed a red laser beam into the eye of a police officer. The officer said he immediately felt pain and had blurred vision. The officer confiscated the laser. He “received only a minor injury and is OK.”

The officer had been speaking at Union High School in Union, S.C. on the topic of negative classroom behavior.

From WYFF4.com and GoUpstate.com

US: Laser pointer arrest at free concert

An 18-year-old teen from Brattleboro, Vermont was arrested at a concert for “using a laser pointer where prohibited” and possession of a controlled substance. The venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Howard County, Maryland, prohibits laser pointers among other devices (removable lens cameras, recording devices, weapons, baskets).

The unnamed teen was one of three persons arrested September 10 2011 at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest concert . The other two arrests were not laser-related.

From the Baltimore Sun and the Merriweather Post Pavilion FAQ

Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse. Because we see relatively few reports of laser misuse in the press, we list even minor reports like this one, for completeness.

US: Calif. report of laser pointer aimed at cars

A brief report in the Ukiah, CA police log: “TEEN WITH LASER POINTER -- Caller at the corner of South State and Gobbi streets reported at 8:40 p.m. Saturday that two young girls were walking on East Gobbi Street and one had a laser pointer that she was pointing at passing cars.”

From the Ukiah Daily Journal

Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse. Because we see relatively few reports of laser attacks on vehicles, we list even minor reports like this one, for completeness.

US, China: Chinese warship used light to attack US spy ship

A secret cable newly-revealed by WikiLeaks states that a U.S. survey ship was attacked for 30 minutes by a Chinese warship aiming a bright white narrow-beam light. The March 8 2008 incident took place in the East China Sea. According to the U.S. State Department cable, “the light was of such intensity that it temporarily impaired the visual acumen of USNS Victorious personnel and thereby constituted a hazard to navigation.”

Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State at the time, sent the cable to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Rice said that China’s actions were “provocative and inconsistent” with the law of the sea” and “constitute serious harassment and elevate the risk of miscalculation.”

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz, who broke the story, was unable to find out whether the light was a laser or a high-powered searchlight. Gertz also pointed to parallels with the 1997 suspected laser use by the Russian merchant ship Kapitan Man.

From the Washington Times

Analysis: Based on the color, LaserPointerSafety.com believes it is a conventional light. To produce a white light beam with lasers requires superimposition of three or more single-color lasers. This is more difficult than using a single-color laser, and would not provide any significant benefit in a situation such as the ship attack. (If countermeasure anti-laser goggles are being used, then it may be beneficial to use multiple wavelengths. It is more difficult to defend against multiple wavelengths, and doing so would reduce conventional visibility since red, green and blue light would all be blocked. Even here, balancing the wavelengths to produce a “white” light is not necessary.)

US: More than 30,000 lasers are "out of control" in Ocean City MD

(This is a link to the main story about out-of-control lasers in Ocean City, which appears here.)

US: Philly man, 41, arrested for aiming at police cruiser

A 41-year-old North Philadelphia man was arrested July 2 2011, after aiming a laser pointer at a passing police officer in a squad car. The officer was on a backup call in the Fairhill area when he saw a “blinding light” that “caused him to slam on the brakes.” Francisco Gonzalez-Rosado was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

From Philly.com

US: Arizona man arrested for aiming laser at officers' feet

A man was arrested July 3 2011 for aiming a laser pointer at the feet of six police officers in Prescott, Arizona. When confronted, the man gave his laser to an officer. The officer told the man that aiming a laser at law enforcement officers was a crime; the man replied that he did not do it intentionally. As the officer walked away, the man yelled profanities.

The case has been referred to the city prosecutor to see if charges will be brought.

From the Daily Courier

US: Ocean City NJ residents report increasing laser harassment

Residents of Ocean City, New Jersey are reporting increasing laser pointer harassment of ordinary citizens. This is in addition to multiple reports of aircraft being lased from the resort town. Officials have asked local merchants to stop selling laser pointers though voluntary compliance has been spotty. This has brought renewed attention to a state Senate bill that would prohibit the sale of laser pointers above 1 milliwatt.

Ocean City Patch said a “quick survey ... found repeated recent uses of laser beams to bother drivers, pets and pedestrians”. Persons interviewed gave anecdotes such as a laser being aimed from outside into a woman’s kitchen window, and a group of 20-year-olds who were lasing passersby including a man and his dog.

Because of aviation and other incidents last year, both police and the local Boardwalk Merchants’ Association (BMA) had asked stores to stop selling pointers. Some complied, or only sold lower-power red and yellow lasers. But since a few stores continued selling laser pointers, the competitive pressure caused others to resume sales. Ironically, one of the stores to resume sales was managed by the brother of the BMA’s president. The store listed the top selling items as being green laser pointers selling for $25 and $35. The manager said “he plans to continue selling them as long as they are legal to sell.”

To fix this, last November Ocean City’s state senator Jeff Van Drew introduced New Jersey Senate bill 2430, banning laser pointers above 1 milliwatt. This is five times less than the U.S. federal limit of 5 milliwatts as set by the Food and Drug Administration. S2430 is currently pending in the state Senate Commerce Committee.

From the Ocean City Patch.

Related LaserPointerSafety.com news stories about Ocean City and New Jersey laser troubles

US: Pointing laser at cars leads to chase, tasering

On June 2 2011, an Indiana motorist saw another driver aiming a green laser pointer at road signs and cars. He called police, who were able to locate and stop the vehicle. The driver, Jason David Clark, 32, ran and was tasered after jumping a fence. Inside the car, police found the laser pointer, suspected cocaine, and a pistol with blank cartridges.

Clark was arrested on a previous outstanding warrant, and now faces additional charges of cocaine possession and resisting arrest. It appears that no charges were brought against his laser pointing actions.

From the
Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana)

US: Gun-shaped laser pointer confiscated

An interesting photograph shows a Virginia Beach mounted policeman confiscating a gun-shaped laser pointer from an 18-year-old. The teenager had aimed the gun/pointer at the officer and his horse. After a lecture and confiscation, the youth was released.


The accompanying story is primarily about a crackdown on curfew violators. Only the photo and its caption mentions laser pointer violations. The full-sized photo can be seen at the Virginian-Pilot website.

From Pilot Online.com. More information on gun-shaped laser pointers and other incidents involving gun/pointers is here.

US: Motorist pulls over after laser attack

27-year-old Ryan S. McManus was charged with reckless endangerment, after repeatedly pointing a green laser at another driver, who at one point “swerved out of his lane and had to pull to the side of the road to avoid crashing.” The harassed driver followed McManus and called 911.

The incident took place in the small town of Greece, New York, in Monroe County. McManus will appear in Greece Town Court on May 25.

From the
Fairport - East Rochester Post and WHEC.com

US: $5,000 and 30 months probation for aiming at barges, planes, copter

44-year-old Todd Manz pleaded guilty on May 20 2011 to lying to FBI agents about a drunken night of aiming 50 milliwatt handheld lasers at river barges, airplanes and a police helicopter. He was fined $5,000 and received 30 months probation. He could have received up to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Manz and two others, David Erminger, 28, and Matthew Mauck, 34, were arrested July 20 2010 in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. From news reports, it appears the most serious incident involved river barges. U.S. District Court Judge Jon McCalla told Manz “You’re pointing a laser at a tugboat with 40 barges and chemicals on it and you could sink the tow. You could kill people, take out the bridge... [The tugboat captains] thought they were being targeted by someone with a high-powered rifle.”

Erminger and Mauck have not yet been sentenced on charges of crimes of violence against maritime navigation and sabotage of aircraft. Government prosecutors will be recommending diversion, a more mild form of probation.

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal

UPDATE: On June 22 2011, Erminger and Mauck were placed on one-year diversion. The criminal charges against them will be erased as long as they stay out of trouble (no new charges) during the next year. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

US: Motorist chased, arrested after lasing other cars

San Antonio police arrested a man who had been illuminating drivers with a laser pointer on March 15 2011.

The man was signaled to pull over by a plainclothes officer. He sped up instead and led the officer on a short chase through downtown. He was charged with drug possession and aggravated assault of a public servant.

From
KENS 5 TV

US: Laser illumination sends officer to hospital

A 53-year-old man was arrested March 18 2011 after shining a laser at an officer who was driving a patrol car. The officer “was taken to a hospital to be treated for temporary blindness”, according to police in Gilroy, California.

Guy Bassett aimed the laser out of his trailer at the Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, and with pointing a laser at an officer. He was also arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of battery.

From the Gilroy Patch and KRON-TV

US: Ohio man harasses radio station with green pointer

A 37-year-old man was charged with inducing panic and aggravated trespassing, after being caught on Feb. 21 2011 aiming a green laser pointer at the windows of radio stations WTAM-AM and WMMS-FM near Cleveland Ohio. He had also aimed at the stations’ windows two weeks earlier but was not caught on that date.

In addition to the laser harassment, the man also had “littered the entrance” to the stations with pornographic photos on Feb. 8

From
Cleveland.com

US: Police shoot man aiming laser gunsight at them

In Reno, Nevada, police officers shot and critically injured a man who aimed a replica pistol's laser beam at them.

Officers responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun. They ordered 44-year-old Charles James Bishop to drop the realistic-looking pistol. When he raised it towards them and the laser moved towards the officers, they fired.

More details from RGJ.com

US: Boy charged for shining laser at drivers

A Lake Forest Road boy faces charges for shining a green laser beam at motorists, including a Bay Village patrol officer. [Bay Village is in Ohio, 15 miles west of Cleveland.]

A motorist first called police at 9:40 p.m. Feb. 7, saying he had just seen a green laser beam in his car. He waited for police and pointed to the house where the light had come from. Officers talked to the home owner, who said his sons had a green laser. The boys denied shining the light at traffic. Police told the brothers not to shine the light at cars and searched their bedroom, but didn't find the laser.

About 7:30 p.m. the following evening, an officer on routine patrol was blinded by a green laser beam coming from a passing car. The patrolman stopped the car. It held one of the boys who has been warned the day before. The boy denied having the laser, but it was eventually turned over to police. Charges are pending, Chief David Wright said in a news release.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

US: Arrest, jail for pointing laser at deputy

A 19-year-old was arrested and jailed for shining a laser pointer at a sheriff’s deputy.

On January 1 2009, a Hornbrook, California homeowner called the sheriff’s office about a man on the homeowner’s porch. “When deputies arrived and began to question Jonathan Lee Huellett, he allegedly pulled out a laser pointer and began shining it in the deputy’s face and on his chest. Huellett was arrested on suspicion of using the laser pointer on the deputy.” He spent the night in jail. He was released, but on January 3 was arrested again for resisting and obstructing a peace officer. [It is unclear from the story if this resulted from a separate incident, or was a charge from the original laser pointer incident.]

Four days later, when the news story was published, he remained in jail.

From the Redding (CA) Record Searchlight online, at www.redding.com

US: Laser hits college football player

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Zac Robinson was hit by a laser pointer during a game Nov. 15 2008 against the University of Colorado. Robinson had to take a timeout because he was distracted by the incident. Fortunately for Robinson, the following play was a 29-yard touchdown pass -- so there, CU fans!

The story here has a photo showing the pointer on his jersey and helmet. ESPN has a video which also shows the incident.

US: Florida man aims laser at deputies, is shot dead

A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who had been pointing a laser at a group of deputies early this morning [Feb. 4 2005], WTSP-10 News reports. Thomas Setzer, 24, was said to have aimed the laser from the second floor of an apartment building. The shooting occurred as the deputies went to the apartment to investigate.

Concerned they were being targeted by a laser-sighted weapon, a deputy trained a spotlight on a second-floor window at the adjacent Boardwalk Apartments, and the laser stopped. Then the beam appeared again, this time focusing on the deputies' bodies and tracking them as they walked.

Deputies drove to the apartments to investigate. Within minutes, the man they say pointed the laser was dead.
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