Saturday, January 26, 2013

Orange County, Florida: Charges filed on teen who pointed laser at pilot

Orange County sheriff's helicopter

Orange County deputies said they have filed charges on a teen who pointed a laser at their helicopter pilot.

Deputies said one of the Chase Units was flying near State Road 408 near Powers Road, when the pilot was just struck with a laser in his night vision goggles.

Deputies said he and his observer had a general area of where the laser was transmitted from and began searching for the suspect.

Deputies said while they were on a third orbit over the area, the pilot was once again hit with the laser.

Deputies said they were able to discover that it came from North Observatory Drive.

They located three people in a yard on Observatory Drive where the pilot said the laser appeared to come from, deputies said.

The observer followed the people and directed patrol in, deputies.

Deputies were able to find the three on the ground and discovered it was a 13-year-old that shot the laser at the pilot.

The laser was recovered as evidence, and charges are being filed on the teen. This is the second incident this week.

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Deputies said a 13-year-old pointed a laser at the Orange County sheriff's helicopter on Friday evening.

The helicopter was flying in the area of State Road 408 and Powers Drive when a green laser was pointed into the cockpit, investigators said.

The helicopter began circling the area and was hit by the laser a second time, according to deputies.

The pilot was able to determine the laser came from the yard of a home on North Observatory Drive. Investigators said the helicopter directed deputies on the ground to the home, where three juveniles were located.

Deputies determined that one of the juveniles, a 13-year-old, was the one who pointed the laser at the helicopter. Officials told WFTV the laser was attached to an air soft gun.

Investigators said the teen was not arrested but charges are being filed against him.

The teen's parents were cooperative with deputies and told WFTV their son didn't mean any harm.

"He had an air soft rifle and just decided to point it at the wrong thing, and obviously it cost him," the teen's father, Raymond Pagan, said.

The 13-year-old is being charged with interfering with the operation of an aircraft, which is a federal felony. Investigators said it will be up to the U.S. Attorney's Office to decide whether or not to prosecute the teen.

This is the second time a laser has been pointed at the Orange County sheriff's helicopter in a week. On Wednesday, deputies said they arrested 28-year-old William Leverance for also pointing a laser at the helicopter.

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