A 22-year-old Toronto man is facing charges after police say someone targeted a police helicopter with a laser pointer, sending both officers to hospital.
York Regional Police said the Air2 helicopter was returning from a patrol flying over Richmond Hill at about midnight on Wednesday, when the pilot and tactical flight officer were hit with a bright light.
Police said the officers identified the source of the laser pointer in the Silver Linden Drive and High Tech Road area and directed officers to the location.
The suspect was arrested at the scene and both the pilot and tactical flight officer were taken to hospital as a precaution.
Valeri Korakhashvili has been charged with endangering a person on an aircraft in flight and obstructing a peace officer.
He is scheduled to appear in a Newmarket court on June 29.
The arrest coincided with York Regional Police’s Laser safety awareness campaign, in which police are reminding the public that shining a laser at an aircraft is a punishable crime.
Health Canada states that a split-second look into a laser pointer can result in a condition called flash blindness, which is similar to the effect of flash photography where the image of the flash remains in your eyes for a few seconds, then fades away.
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is intentionally and recklessly putting people’s lives in danger,” said Chief Eric Jolliffe in a statement.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact York Regional Police #2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7241, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip online at http://www.1800222tips.com, or text your tip to CRIMES (274637) starting with the word YORK.