- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - A man was arrested for pointing lasers at planes trying to land at a Florida airport and injuring a pilot in the process, authorities said.

Charlie Chapman Jr. aimed his laser pointer toward a plane four times and toward a sheriff’s helicopter once as they tried to land last week at Sarasota Bradenton Airport, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

One pilot said the laser hit him directly in the eyes and caused temporary blindness and lingering blurred vision. The Orlando Sentinel reported a video also showed a man appearing to throw objects at the sheriff’s helicopter as it tried to land.

After several pilots reported the incidents, the investigation led deputies to Chapman. They found the 41-year-old on a forklift Wednesday night. He made a striking motion toward them with a hammer, prompting deputies to use a stun gun on him, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chapman was charged with aggravated assault on an officer, pointing a laser at a pilot with injury, pointing a laser at a pilot without injury and resisting without violence.



It’s unclear if he had retained an attorney who could comment on the charges.

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