A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: Orlando man shot by police after brandishing laser pointer

An Orlando man bring served an arrest warrant aimed a laser pointer and threw a knife at police, who shot and killed him.

The October 6 2017 incident began when Roberto Callejas, 35, told his family he was waiting for the officers to arrive, and that he had a bomb. While it was later found that Callejas did not have any explosives, he did have two knives and a laser pointer.

When police arrived with a warrant for armed trespassing, Callejas put a knife to his throat. Police tased him. He fell to the ground, then came back up and aimed what police thought was a laser gun sight at them. Officers shot him. Callejas fell again, and again came back up; this time he tried to throw a knife at the police. Officers shot once more and killed him.

According to an Orlando Police spokesperson, Callejas had threatened police before. Police Chief John Mina said “To me it seems he wanted to die at the hands of police.”

Note: This comes on the heels of a similar September 2017 incident where a 31-year-old Bronx man refused to put down a knife and a toy gun with an integral laser pointer. The man was shot and killed after he aimed the toy gun/laser pointer at officers, according to the police account.

From the Orlando Sentinel

US: NYPD video shows man killed for aiming fake gun laser pointer at officers

On September 6 2016, New York City Police Department officers fatally shot a man who they say aimed an imitation gun with a laser pointer at them. Killed was 31-year-old college student Miguel Richards.

Police released four videos from officers’ body-worn cameras, showing how the incident progressed. A detailed look at the laser light seen in videos is below. First though, a summary of the incident.

The fatal incident


Police had been called by Richards’ landlord because Richards had not been seen for a few days. Confronted by two police officers in his Bronx apartment bedroom, Richards stood motionless and silent throughout most of the incident. He had a knife in one hand and the toy gun behind his back.

Miguel Richards toy gun laser pointer NYPD video frame 926

Body-worn video shows the scene.

Police asked him dozens of times to drop the knife and put his hands up. After about 10 minutes, they noticed the gun.

An officer told Richards “"Drop that gun, dude. Drop that gun. I don't want to shoot you if you've got a fake gun in your hand. You hear me? But I will shoot you if that's a real gun."

Two additional officers then arrived; one pulled out a stun gun. Richards appeared to raise his arm and aim the laser pointer towards the officers. The officer with the stun gun fired. After a few seconds, and a possible second laser “shot” from Richards, a second officer fired nine bullets, a third officer fired seven bullets, and the fourth officer did not fire.

Richards died at the scene.

Miguel Richards toy gun laser pointer floor

The imitation pistol with laser pointer lies at the scene; NYPD photo.

Click to read more...

US: California man arrested for aiming a laser pointer (on a gun?) at people

A 30-year-old man was arrested July 18 2017 for aiming a laser pointer “at people passing Potrero Circle and Lawler Ranch Parkway” in Suisun City, California. It was not clear from press reports if pedestrians or vehicles were being targeted.

A caller had reported to police that a man had “something attached to a laser that appeared to be a firearm.” Police arrested Jose M. Padilla as he was leaving the area in a van.

Padilla had been arrested July 10 2017 on a firearms charge. He was not to possess firearms or ammunition. When arrested on July 18, ammunition was found in the van.

He was charged with two misdemeanors: suspicion of violating a firearms emergency protective order, and suspicion of pointing a laser pointer with the intent to cause a person to fear harm.

From the Daily Republic and The Reporter

US: Teen points beam from laser "gun" into officer's eyes

A teenager pointed a laser “gun” at a Northport, NY police officer’s face. The incident happened at 9:45 pm on September 10 2016. The 17-year-old was arrested about 21 hours later, and was charged with second-degree menacing and second-degree harassment.

Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca told LaserPointerSafety.com that the laser beam went into the officer’s face and eyes. The officer was temporarily blinded. He did not feel discomfort, but did go to an eye doctor for an exam which showed no ill effects.

Ricca said that the situation could have been much worse: “If the laser was aimed at the cop’s chest so the cop could see what was going on, I’m sure he might have shot at the kid. We would have had a real bad incident.”

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.10.06 PM
The laser “gun” used in the incident.

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.22.30 PM
An Internet search of similar “laser pointer guns” turns up a similar
lighter costing about $7.00.


From Northport Patch and a September 16 2016 phone interview with Chief Bill Ricca

US: Laser pointer sale gone bad escalates to airsoft gun, then real gun

On August 19 2016, a group of men having alcoholic drinks in a Mill Creek (Washington) park discussed the sale of a laser pointer to one of the group. An argument broke out over the exchange of money.

The seller pulled out an airsoft gun, but one of the other men pulled out a .40 caliber pistol. The seller ran away, but was shot by the man with the pistol. The bullet impacted on a metal flashlight in the seller’s backpack, possibly saving his life.

Flashlight laser bullet
The flashlight that took the bullet impact


The shooter was arrested on charges of attempted murder.

From Q13Fox.com

US: Officers in Green Bay targeted by laser during gun search

A man was arrested on September 7 2015 for aiming a laser pointer at Green Bay, Wisconsin police.

The officers had been searching at about 11 p.m. for a person who threatened someone with a gun. While the police did not find the person, during the search a laser dot was repeatedly aimed onto one of the officers.

A witness described how the laser “starts at the lower part of his torso and works his way up, as if somebody is zoning or eyeing in their weapon at this officer, and that’s exactly what this officer that saw this laser was thinking. He thinks somebody is pointing a laser at a target location on an officer to engage him and shoot him.”

According to a news report, “[t]he officers took cover and followed the laser more than a block away.” Officers confronted Jeffrey Klopotic at his home; the 45-year-old fought with the officers. They found Klopotic had a laser pointer. He was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, obstructing police, intention of directing a laser pointer at an officer, and disorderly conduct.

Jeffrey Klopotic laser
Jeffrey Klopotic

Because guns are often equipped with laser sights, police are worried whenever a laser dot appears on or near them. TV station WBAY purchased a $25 laser pointer and tested it side-by-side along with a laser gun sight. A former police captain they consulted could not tell the difference between the pointer’s dot and the gun sight’s dot.

A Green Bay police spokesman said “When you hear that eight officers are shot in nine days, yeah, it’s certainly going to get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up a little more. People have got to be mindful of what they’re doing, and the decision to do such a thing. It could have ended tragically.”

From WBAY; photo from Arrests.org.

US: Laser on gun pointed at teens by off-duty trooper

Two New Jersey teenagers say that on July 26 2015, a man with a gun followed them, they saw a laser being pointed at them, and then the man opened fire. The man later turned out to be an off-duty state trooper using what the state attorney general’s office says was his personal handgun.

From NJ.com

US: Kentucky police shoot man who aimed gun, laser pointer at them

A 51-year-old Kentucky man who aimed a handgun and a laser pointer at state police was shot on May 9 2015.

Police executing a search warrant at an Eddyville home knocked on the door and identified themselves. John C. Smith came to the door, and aimed the gun and pointer at them. Police told him several times to drop the gun. He refused and was shot in the abdomen.

He lived but was taken to the intensive care unit at a Paducah hospital.

Police found crystal meth, several guns and a “large amount of cash” at the home.

From Kentucky.com

US: UPDATED - Utah man with laser pointer taped to fake gun is shot by police

A 32-year-old Utah man who brandished a homemade fake gun with a fake laser pointer “sight”, was shot July 10 2014 by a police officer. The man, Timothy James Peterson, survived and was charged with second-degree felony assault against a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement.

On July 7, Peterson made a Facebook post where he threatened to kill police, and referenced being shot by police. Three days later, West Jordan police officer Ian Adams was patrolling a shopping center and saw Peterson, who ran. During the chase, Peterson turned and drew an object that looked like a handgun. Adams shot Peterson twice, once in the legs and once in the buttocks.

The object was found to be a piece of bent metal with a taped-on laser pointer.
Click to read more...

US: Ohio 7th grader may be expelled for gun-shaped laser pointer

A 7th grade student in Huber Heights, Ohio was arrested April 23 2013 for bringing a laser pointer shaped like a realistic gun to Weisenborn Middle School. The unnamed 12- or 13-year-old boy pointed the “laser gun” at two other students who became frightened and told the principle. Police arrested the boy; he faces criminal charges in juvenile court. He also may be expelled due to violating the school district’s policies about weapons or look-alikes.

gun-shaped laser pointer
An example of a gun-shaped laser pointer. This particular unit emits a 100 mW beam and costs USD $68. An Internet search turns up a wide variety of gun-shaped novelty and toy laser pointers, including some that also have a lighter built in, and a gag pointer that shocks the user when they pull the trigger.


From WDTN.com

US: Laser pointer on home; Tulsa woman investigates and is shot

A woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma was shot in her leg after investigating a laser pointer being aimed onto her house. She went to a hospital, was found to be in fair condition, and was released after a few hours.

On May 22 2014, at about 10:30 pm, 50-year-old Dawn Adams went out her back door to investigate the laser light on her home. She asked the person to stop because the laser dot was upsetting the family dogs. They heard gunshots and thought the person might have shot the dogs. Adams and her son Philip Klimcak, 23, went outside and saw a person dressed in dark clothes who started walking the length of the house, “spraying bullets the whole way.” (Neighbors reported hearing about six shots; a reporter later found almost a dozen holes in the house.)

Klimcak pushed his mother back to protect her. A bullet went through the home structure and into Adams’ leg.

Dawn Adams Philip Klimcak Tulsa laser pointer home
Philip Klimcak, in dark clothing, speaks with KTUL reporter Caitlin Alexander outside his mother’s home.


Police believe the weapon was a pistol. They are looking for a suspect, but do not have a good description. Klimcak said it may have been a gang initiation.

There was no immediate information regarding whether the laser was on the pistol or was a separate stand-alone device.

From KTUL.com, Tulsa World, and KJRH.com

US: High school report of handgun turns out to be a laser pointer

Police officers responded to a call at a Kansas City, Kansas school on May 8 2014. A person with a handgun and laser sight had been reported at Wyandotte High School. Surveillance video, however, showed that the “suspect” had a laser pointer and not a gun.

From the Kansas City Star

US: Maine man aims fake gun with laser pointer at cars; is arrested

A 22-year-old Maine man was arrested January 11 2014 for aiming a replica gun, which emits a laser beam from the barrel, at passing motorists including a police officer.

Replica gun laser pointer
The replica gun, emitting a red laser beam, used to harass motorists.


The officer was on patrol in Kittery, a seaside town at the southern tip of Maine, when he saw a red laser beam in his cruiser. He then saw the beam on other vehicles as well.

The officer pulled up behind the car of Seth Christman, and arrested him. Christman was charged with criminal use of a laser pointer under Maine Title 17-A Sec. 1002-A. The Class D misdemeanor prohibits intentionally pointing a laser beam at a police officer or a “reasonable person” for the purpose of intimidating and attempting to harm.

Christman’s next hearing in York District Court is set for March 5 2014.

From SeacoastOnline

US: UPDATED - NY state homeland security head uses laser gunsight as pointer in presentation

New York state’s director of homeland security, Jerome M. Hauer, reportedly used the laser sight on his handgun as a laser pointer, during an October 24 2013 presentation in Albany to a foreign delegation.

The Albany Times-Union reported on January 6 2014 that “...three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.” Two persons “...moved quickly out of the line of the laser when he brought out the gun.”

There were no reported injuries from the incident.

Hauer has not denied the incident, although New York state press officials have not provided any additional explanation or details.

The Times-Union said Hauer had a stroke and “can be unsteady”. The laser was mounted on a loaded 9-millimeter Glock that he carries into state buildings, “... an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons into the workplace.”

Hauer is commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He was director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management from 1996 to 2000, and was Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness within the Department of Health and Human Services from 2002 to 2004. He is approximately 61 years old as of January 2014.

From the Albany Times-Union and the Wikipedia article on Jerome Hauer

UPDATED January 7 2014, 1:45 pm: Hauer told the New York Post that the weapon was empty and was used because there were no laser pointers nearby: “In the end, I used the laser gun. Was it the smartest thing in the world do [sic]? Absolutely not.... No one in the room was rattled. The gun was never aimed at anyone. I would never point an empty firearm at anyone, let alone a loaded gun. I was pointing directly at the wall. The gun was never aimed at anyone.”

US: Teen awakened by burglar aiming laser gunsight at him

A 19-year-old youth was awakened in his Sandy Springs, Georgia, home by a burglar. On June 20 2013, the teen saw a red dot from a laser gunsight, a few feet away. The burglar shouted at him to go back to his room. A Sandy Springs police spokesperson said “From what he [the teen] said that laser pointer or that laser on the gun was pointing at him on the wall.”

No shots were fired. The burglar left with thousands of dollars in jewelry, driving away with an accomplice. Police are searching for the suspect.

From Fox30Jax.com

UK: Shopkeeper threatened with non-existent "laser gun"

The owner of a fruit and vegetable shop was punched in the face and threatened with a “laser gun” during a robbery June 9 2012. However, no laser, gun or other weapon was produced during the assault. It took place in Preston, Lancashire.

The shopkeeper had cuts and bruises but did not provide any money to the robber.

From the Lancashire Evening Post

US: Laser pointed at stranger's chest in Myrtle Beach

Two men in a car pointed a red laser at two intoxicated men waiting for a taxi, at about 2:45 am March 18 2012, according to a Myrtle Beach (SC) police report. One of the intoxicated men was “tagged in the chest” at a distance of about 100 feet by what they assumed was a gun with a laser sight. (They did not see a gun.) The car drove away before police arrived.

From
Myrtle Beach Online. Note that there have been many reports of laser pointer harassment and misuse against aircraft in Myrtle Beach. The town passed an ordinance in late September 2011, making it a misdemeanor to aim a laser at a person, animal or vehicle, and restricting possession by and sales to minors. A similar ordinance passed in nearby North Myrtle Beach.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: UPDATED - Man showing laser sight to wife shoots, kills her

A man was demonstrating the laser sight on his AK-47 assault rifle to his wife when the gun fired, killing her. The death, apparently accidental, occurred on February 21 2012.

The Flagler County (FL) Sheriff’s Office said that William Merrill, 32, and his wife Stefanie were at their Palm Coast, Florida home in their master bathroom while their 3-year-old daughter was taking a bath. Merrill pointed the AK-47 at his wife to show her the laser’s beam. The two were talking about how bright the beam was when the gun fired once. Stefanie died at the scene.

Pic 2012-02-23 at 10.46.01 PM
William Merrill


On February 23, Merrill was arrested for manslaughter and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had been convicted in 2007 on grand theft and other charges.

From the Orlando Sentinel

UPDATED October 30 2012 - William Merrill was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The minimum he could have received was 10 years, and the maximum was 30 years.

The “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” charge was dropped when Merrill pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge. (He could have received up to 45 years if given the maximum under both charges.)

During trial the prosecutor said “I don’t believe, and it’s not our position that Mr. Merrill intentionally killed his wife that morning.” But, he said, Merrill’s actions were egregiously reckless and disregarded safety.

When pronouncing sentence, the judge noted that Merrill had a stash of over 20 firearms and he violated the most basic of firearm rules. The judge concluded that it did not matter if it was an accident, Merrill was guilty of killing his wife.

From FlaglerLive.com

US: Maine man sentenced to 10 days for pointing laser gunsight at police

A 28-year-old man received a 10-day jail sentence on February 8 2012, for aiming a laser gunsight at a police officer. Moses Rollins pleaded guilty to reckless conduct and criminal use of a laser. The reckless conduct charge was deferred; if he complies with a one-year agreement, he will not be convicted. Rollins’ 10-day jail sentence for criminal use of a laser begins March 9.

On May 10 2011, police were called to a barn in New Sharon. They found two intoxicated men were firing shots for about an hour. One man came out and was arrested. The gunshots continued. At one point, a laser pointer was aimed at police and at a cruiser. After Rollins exited the barn and was arrested, police found a 30-30 rifle with an attached laser scope.

From the Sun Journal

US: Road rage laser in passenger's eyes, then bullets in car

In a road rage incident February 12 2012, four Cincinnati-area teenagers were targeted first by a laser that hit the front seat passenger in the eyes, then by bullets that shattered the window glass and hit one of the teens in the leg. Driver Grady Black said of the other car’s driver "He was in the right lane I was in the left lane and they flipped him off out of the window and the next thing you know he shined the laser into the car, we thought it was just a laser pointer and I hear the window shatter and I took off."

It turned out that the light was from a laser sight on the gun. The injured teenager, Kevin Boegeman, appears to be “alright all things considered.” The perpetrator has not been found as of February 13.

From WKRC Cincinnati

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
.

US: Man points gun with laser sight in New Hampshire road rage incident

In what police describe as a road rage incident, a driver on Interstate 93 in Sanbornton, New Hampshire pointed a handgun with a laser sight at another driver. 48-year-old John Spyros Privolos, a Massachusetts resident, was arrested in the December 29 2011 incident. A handgun with a grip-activated laser sight was found in Privolos’ possession.

John Spyros Privolos laser
Charged with driving without a valid license, and criminal threatening


From
WMUR TV

Australia: Qld teens aim laser at car, then fire shots

Three male teenagers were arrested for shining a laser into a driver’s eyes, then firing gunshots into the car. News reports did not say whether the laser was a sight on the weapon, or whether it was a separate device.

The incident occurred December 13 2011 in Beenleigh, about 35 km south of Brisbane, Queensland. The targeted driver was not injured but the rear window of the car was shattered.

An 18-year-old faces fifteen charges, a 16-year-old faces five charges, and a 15-year-old faces sixteen charges. A press account from Nine News listing some of the charges did not list any that were laser-specific.

From Nine News

US: Oregon man aims laser-sighted gun at deputy

Michael Coats, 48, was arrested October 10 2011 after he lased a sheriff’s deputy with the red dot from a laser-sighted .45 semi-automatic pistol. Coats said he aimed the laser and gun because the lights from the patrol vehicle were disturbing him. He was charged with menacing, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a firearm, and pointing a weapon. The incident happened in Jefferson, Marion County, Oregon.

Pic 2011-10-23 at 12.23.13 PM
Michael Coats

From KVAL.com