Minutes after a Michigan State Police helicopter was lasered while patrolling over Detroit on Friday night, a man was arrested in the crime, and he will soon face federal charges, authorities say.
The helicopter was doing a routine patrol over Detroit at about 8 p.m. Friday when the laser hit.
Lt. Mike Shaw, a Michigan State Police spokesman, said “it’s very easy to see” where a laser comes from, and that within about 20 minutes, Highland Park police located and arrested the suspect. Because the man had warrants, Highland Park police were able to hold him, Shaw said.
Then Highland Park turned him over to the FBI, at which point he allegedly confessed, not only to lasering the state police helicopter, but four other aircrafts, all on the same day, according to state police.
Because the laser incident is a matter of federal law rather than state, it presents “an extra cog we have to go through,” Shaw said, in prosecuting the case.
That’s why state police will be testifying Tuesday in favor of House Bill 4063, which is sponsored by State Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, and House Bill 4064, which is sponsored by State Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville. If passed into law, those measures would create an anti-laser point law in Michigan, allowing such cases to be prosecuted locally rather than at the federal level.
HB 4063 would make intentionally striking an aircraft with a laser a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
The FBI and Highland Park did not immediately respond to requests for comment.