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Markham man charged after York police Air2 helicopter hit with laser strikes

The man allegedly pointed a bright laser pointing pen continually at the helicopter, police say
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Supplied photo/York Regional Police

NEWS RELEASE
YORK REGIONAL POLICE
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York Regional Police has laid charges after the police helicopter Air2 was hit with laser strikes in the City of Markham.

On Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, at 12:47 a.m., a pilot and tactical flight officer were in the police helicopter Air2, assisting officers with a suspected impaired driver in the area of Brimley Road and Denison Street. While above the traffic stop, the pilot and officer were struck with a bright laser light. Officers were able to determine that the laser light was coming from a man who was standing in a backyard on Vickers Road, who was continually pointing the light at the helicopter.

Officers on the ground were directed to the backyard and the suspect was placed under arrest. He was found to be in possession of a 532nM 5mW cw CLASS IIIa laser pointing pen and has been charged.

Video from Air2 of the laser strikes and arrest is available for viewing here.  

Charged:  

  • A 31-year-old man from Markham

Charges:  

  • Mischief Endangering Life  
  • Endanger Security of an Aircraft in Flight - Aeronautics Act  
  • Obstruct Peace Officer

York Regional Police reminds the public of the potential harm laser pointers can cause. Health Canada warns that a split-second look into a laser pointer can result in a condition called flash blindness. This is similar to the effect you get during flash photography, where the image of the flash remains in your eyes for a few seconds, then fades away. However, for a pilot in control of an aircraft flying over populated areas, the consequences can be very serious. Those who aim these pointers at aircraft are putting lives in danger, not only in the aircraft but on the ground, as there is a significant potential for harm to the pilot as well as the prospect of a crash.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police #5 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7541, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at www.1800222tips.com.

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