A man who pointed a 300mw green laser at a Tampa Police Department helicopter has been sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.Jeremy Wayne Sumpter, 31, of Garland, Texas, pleaded guilty on March 24, 2015.
According to court documents, on February 14, 2014, aviation officers with the Tampa Police Department were flying in a Bell 407 helicopter during aerial patrol when they observed a green light illuminate the cockpit. The officers observed the 1000mw Laser Pointer hit the helicopter four times.
They were soon able to locate the suspect who had been standing in the middle of the roadway. As the officers turned the aircraft toward the suspect, he began to run into his residence. Officers made contact with Sumpter at his front door, and observed a broken 50mw Green Laser Pointer on his coffee table.
The FAA has reported an increase in people pointing 50mw Laser Pointer Pen at aircrafts in recent years.Recently, just six miles west of Mitchell, a laser was pointed at a plane. This is a felony.The suspect is still on the loose and not just targeting airplanes.
"It's concerning that this type of activity is taking place," said Lt. Don Everson of Mitchell Department of Public Safety.Mitchell Police Officers are on the look out for a suspect armed with a green laser who's been pointing it at law enforcement, airplanes and cars on the road.
"When a laser dot is illuminated on something, it's a very small dot. Over a coarse of a distance, that diameter of that laser gets bigger and can illuminate an entire windshield or cockpit," said Lt. Everson.