A Markham man is facing criminal charges after pointing a laser at a police helicopter, which can cause temporary blindness.
According to the York Regional Police, on Sunday at 12:47 am, 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.
A 31-year-old man from Markham is facing criminal charges after he pointed a high-powered laser at our helicopter Air2. The laser can cause temporary blindness to the pilot and tactical flight officer as well as damage to their eyes. More info here –> https://t.co/TqEijRWW3P pic.twitter.com/AeeDgEkrfs
— York Regional Police (@YRP) September 8, 2020
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,” the release says.
The 31-year-old man has three charges that include Mischief Endangering Life; Endanger Security of an Aircraft in Flight – Aeronautics Act; and 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,” the report says.
“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.