Port Richey, Fla. – Police arrested a man who was pointing a red laser at a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office helicopter on Dec. 5 (video below.)
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office pilots, Deputy Stephen Bowman and Deputy Tim Bullis, were in the helicopter assisting deputies on a call for a barricaded subject when they said they were nearly blinded by a flashing red light, WTVT-TV reported.
“If we’re at a lower altitude and we get blinded momentarily, we could run into a tower, because we don’t see it,” Deputy Bullis said.
Using their night vision camera, the pilots located a man in his garage pointing a laser at their helicopter.
Then they used their GPS on an iPad in their helicopter to find the man’s address.
The pilots tried to get dispatchers to send a deputy to the suspect’s home, but no police officers were available.
So the pilots landed their helicopter in an empty parking lot about five blocks from the man’s home, and handled the problem themselves.
Deputy Bowman got out of the helicopter, and ran to the house to arrest 27-year-old Ryan Fluke.
“Once I took him into custody, initially he denied it,” Deputy Bowman told the TV station. “Once I brought him back to the helicopter, we actually showed him the video of him in action, and then he immediately confessed.”
The deputies said that pointing a laser at a police helicopter is a common issue that is very dangerous.
Deputy Bowman said he’s had a laser pointed at him about eight different times in his five years as pilot of the Bell OH-58 helicopter, according to Tampabay.com.
Fluke told police he didn’t think his laser was strong enough to reach their helicopter.
He was arrested, and charged with misusing a laser light.
You can see the video of the incident below: