A man in Snohomish County has been sentenced to prison for two counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, according to the Department of Justice.
Christopher W. Harris, 41, was indicted in Feb. 2023 for the incidents that were reported on Nov. 20, 2022. He has been in custody since his bond was revoked in Aug. 2023.
According to the DOJ, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said the act temporarily damaged the pilot’s vision and was “very dangerous, life-threatening, and done without regard for the victims.”
At about 5 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2022, Harris pointed a blue laser at the cockpit of a two-person aircraft that was on track to land at Arlington Airport.
As a result, the pilot’s eyes were damaged and he was unable to see the instrumental panel. After switching on the backlight for the instrument screen, the pilot was able to safely land the plane.
The pilot also required medical treatment for the injury to his eye.
Two and a half hours later, Harris pointed the laser at a four-seat aircraft being flown by a student pilot.
On this flight, the instructor was able to get pictures of the origin of the laser, which helped law enforcement identify the location of the laser at a storage facility in Marysville.
Harris was sentenced to eight months in prison plus three years of supervised release, with intensive addiction and mental health treatment.
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