OAKLAND -- An Oakland man who police say aimed a laser pointer at California Highway Patrol and TV news helicopter pilots during a Monday night air search for men who shot a police officer could face up to three years in prison, according to the CHP.
A CHP airplane was flying over the city about 9 p.m. Monday and was in the vicinity of International Boulevard and Seminary Avenue when the two men aboard -- Pilot Officer Gary Wareham and Tactical Officer Tom Lipsey -- saw a red laser pointed at them from the ground. A helicopter for KGO-TV Channel 7 also was in the air and reported the laser, according to the CHP.
"It's a very dangerous thing to do," Lipsey said. "The windows are made of plexiglass, and when the laser hits the window, it lights up and can be very distracting and blinding. That's the last thing you need when you're flying."
The laser-pointing caused the CHP aircraft to stop its search, but the crew on the KGO-TV helicopter contacted the CHP to relay that they had taken clear video of the man aiming the laser pointer at the news helicopter from a residence on 15th Street and 55th Avenue, Lipsey said.
Oakland CHP officers were directed to the suspect's house, and the KGO-TV crew identified the resident, who was arrested without incident, according to the CHP.
Officers did not identify the man, who was arrested on suspicion of a felony for pointing a laser at an aircraft.
"They were generally getting hit
The CHP plane was involved in the search for suspects involved in the shooting of an Oakland police officer at about 6:22 p.m. Monday night. The officer was treated and released from a hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the arm, police said. Police arrested two men with suspected gang affiliations who were on parole. The officer was investigating a shooting in the 5900 block of Foothill Boulevard that critically wounded a 19-year-old man.
Rick Hurd covers breaking news. Contact him in Walnut Creek at 925-945-4780, and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh.