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NYPD Helicopter Pilot Tracks Down Suspect Who Allegedly Pointed Laser In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A suspect remained out on bail this week after allegedly being caught shooting a high-powered laser beam into the eyes of an NYPD helicopter pilot in Queens.

NYPD Officer Tarek Otero and his co-pilot, Officer Michael Porcheddu, were flying in a helicopter about 750 feet in the air as they combed the 107th Precinct in Queens for an assault suspect back on Sept. 24, police said. Around 9:30 p.m. that day, Otero spotted a green light shining through the helicopter.

"I put the helicopter in hover and all of a sudden I see, out of the corner of my eye, a bright green light that illuminated the cockpit," Otero said in Tuesday news release.

Otero instinctively looked to the right to investigate the green light, and the beam's painful flash led him to pull off his night-vision goggles and instruct Porcheddu to contact patrol units on the ground, police said.

"I told my partner: 'We've just been lasered. I've got sight of him and we're going to go after him'," Otero said in the release.

Otero and Porcheddu looked down toward a school yard at 162nd Street and 86th Avenue in Queens, and saw a woman, a small child with a white dog, and a "very large" man, police said.

Units from the 107th Precinct Anti-Crime Unit came up to the man – identified as Daniel Parris, 26, of Queens – and arrested him after finding a six-inch laser device in his pocket, police said.

NYPD Helicopter Pilot Tracks Down Suspect Who Allegedly Pointed Laser In Queens

Parris was charged with reckless endangerment, menacing, and obstructing governmental administration, police said.

He was due back in court on Oct. 8.

Otero and Porcheddu were not seriously injured, but other aviators have been temporarily and even permanently blinded by laser pointers.

Nationwide, there were more than 3,900 lasing incidents in 2013 -- 99 in the New York City area alone.

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