Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Texas Man Arrested After Laser Pointed At 7 Separate Aircraft

Austin Lawrence Siferd 
(Jail photo)

CLEBURNE (July 22, 2015) Austin Lawrence Siferd, 23, was arrested early Wednesday in rural Johnson County after Dallas-Fort Worth air traffic controllers reported seven instances in which a green laser light was pointed at aircraft, authorities said. 

Aircraft were diverted from the area as a result of the incidents, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release Wednesday.

Six of the incidents, which started Tuesday night, involved planes from American Airlines, former American Eagle carrier Envoy, Southwest Airlines or cargo carrier FedEx, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

Siferd was charged with misdemeanor illumination of aircraft by intense light, but federal investigators planned to interview him and federal charges could be filed, the sheriff’s office said.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter that joined the search for the source of the laser was also targeted and the pilot was able to pinpoint the origin as a home in the 9000 block of CR 604.

Deputies found three people at the home, all of whom said they had been sleeping and weren’t aware of any incident involving a laser, but one of them, after learning that the DPS pilot had recorded video of the laser and had pinpointed the residence asked to speak to a sheriff’s corporal privately, the sheriff’s office said.

“At this point the suspect turned over the green laser to deputies and admitted that he had been using it to point at aircraft, not realizing that it was actually strong enough to reach the aircraft,” the press release said.


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