Arrest made after laser pointed at Sea-Tac planes, police chopper

GUDWlN, Wikimedia Commons

BURIEN, Wash. — Police said a 29-year-old was arrested Tuesday night and could be charged with a felony after pointing a laser at flights heading toward Sea-Tac Airport as well as the King County Sheriff's Office helicopter, Guardian 1.

At about 9:34 p.m., Sea-Tac Airport officials notified Guardian 1 that a green laser was being pointed at several inbound planes. The pilots reported that the laser was coming from the area of the Burien Transit Center.

Guardian 1 flew into the area to try to find the source of the laser, and minutes later, someone at the transit center pointed a green laser at the chopper, causing the officers inside to be unable to see outside the helicopter briefly.

Deputies were able to use the chopper's infrared camera system to find a man with a laser at the bus stop and direct deputies on the ground.

The man, who was in possession of a green laser, was arrested. Deputies say he admitted to showing his new laser to his friend and "accidentally shining the laser near the airport.”  Investigators said he also admitted to purposely shining it at Guardian 1 but "didn't think it was a big deal.”

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The man was released at the scene, but the case will be forwarded to detectives for follow up.

He could face felony charges of unlawful discharge of a laser in the first degree.

The Sheriff’s Office says visible laser light causes distraction or temporary blindness to a pilot during a critical phase of flight such as landing or takeoff.