07/29/2009

Pa. man aimed laser at police helicopter

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania man is charged with injuring a police helicopter pilot when he aimed a high-powered laser at the cockpit during flight.

The FBI says 51-year-old James Gautieri of Williamsport temporarily blinded Lt. Anthony Ginaldi as he tried to land the helicopter in northeast Philadelphia in April. Ginaldi had to turn over controls to a co-pilot.

Police say they kept their search light on the suspect's location until police arrived to arrest him. Federal prosecutors are not discussing a possible motive.

Gautieri is charged with interfering with the operation of an aircraft and reckless endangerment.

A defense lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment.

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