Person arrested after laser targets CBP helicopter at Detroit protest

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

One person was taken into custody in Windsor, Ontario, on Wednesday after shining a laser pointer into a U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection helicopter that was monitoring protests in Detroit. 

The Air and Marine Operation AS-350 helicopter was flying near the Renaissance Center about 10 p.m. Wednesday when a green laser was aimed at the aircraft. Aiming a laser at aircraft is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the federal agency said. 

Lasers can cause flash blindness and other vision problems for pilots. 

A laser was pointed at a Customs and Border Protection AS350 helicopter Wednesday, June 4, 2020 while the crew was monitoring a police brutality protest in Detroit.

The helicopter crew aimed its camera system at the point of origin in Windsor and reported the incident to the Windsor Ontario Control Tower.

The crew kept the helicopter along the Detroit River for visual surveillance of the suspect and relayed the location to the control tower and Windsor police. Police eventually took the person into custody.

It was not immediately clear what charges, if any, the suspect will face.

“The Windsor Control Tower acted as a continuous relay to the police as the aircrew vectored them to the subject’s position which was critical to making this apprehension,” said Marc Sledge, Director, Air and Marine Operations, Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch. “I am very thankful that our pilots were not injured in this incident and that our Canadian counterparts were there to assist us at a moment’s notice.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com