MT. AIRY, Md. (WJZ) – A 12-year-old boy is in hot water after police say he shined a laser pointed at a state police helicopter. The light is so strong, it can disable a pilot. It happened Sunday night as the chopper flew over Carroll County.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with the crew that was inside the helicopter.
Police say the boy targeted the hospital multiple times with the laser pointer, creating a dangerous situation for the flight crew.
Returning from an emergency Medevac mission over Mount Airy, a state police helicopter became the target of a dangerous attack.
"I just saw a flash of green light, a very bright light in the cockpit," said Maryland State Police Pilot Craig Renier.
A green laser pointed was aimed directly at the chopper. The light can be so intense, it can blind a pilot---even cause permanent eye damage. From the air, the chopper crew was able to pinpoint exactly where the laser was coming from.
"We could see where the laser beam was coming from because it makes a line basically from the brightness down to the origin," said Maryland State Police Corporal Gregg Lantz.
At the end of that laser beam was a 12-year-old boy who investigators say didn't know the dangers of his actions.
"We have the risk of crashing the aircraft and killing everybody on board," Lantz said.
The number of laser strikes is on the rise nationwide. Last year, nearly 4,000 were reported---that's almost 11 strikes per day.
The FBI has launched a nationwide program to stop the attacks from happening. Flight crews say the word is getting out.
"These are tools you have to be very careful with and the consequences can be very serious for another individual," Renier said.
Consequences that could result in tragedy.
Using a laser pointed on an aircraft is considered a felony offense and punishable by up to five years behind bars.
The 12-year-old was just given a warning for his actions.
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