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US: Man uses laser to cause other drivers to get out of his way; is arrested

A man driving on Highway 101 near Sausalito, California on March 10 2020 used a "high-power" green laser to aim at other vehicles so he could pass them.

The man lased a California Highway Patrol car, lighting up the interior and temporarily blinding both officers in the car. One was able to provide a description of the laser-targeting vehicle to a CHP unit further ahead. The car was stopped and the driver was questioned. CHP said "He was in fact the person responsible for the laser strike and [was placed] under arrest. A search of the vehicle located a high-power green laser pen which had been used.

From KPIX CBS

Ireland: €80,000 award to man injured by laser pen in school

Twenty-four year-old Dillon Breen of Dublin was awarded €80,000 (USD $90,400) on March 6 2020, for losing 10 percent of his right eye's vision in a laser pen incident that took place when Breen was approximately 16. The award was against Syncron Limited of Ballycoolin, Dublin, the company that sold the €10 laser pen on the internet.

It was sold to a classmate of Breen who brought it to St Kevin's College on May 25 2012. Another classmate accidentally aimed the laser's green beam at Breen while a teacher was out of the classroom. Breen immediately felt a "burning sensation." At hospital he was told his retina was burned. Breen has a permanent spot in the center of his right eye, removing about 10 percent of his vision and requiring him to wear glasses.

Breen sued the school, St Kevin's and the laser pen distributor, Syncron.

Justice Michael Hanna found that the school had no responsibility. He said the teacher was entitled to be out of the classroom on necessary business, and if the school was aware of the laser it would have taken action.

Breen's suit said the laser pen was more powerful than allowed by EU directives and thus was dangerous. The judge agreed, noting it should not have been offered for sale, and that Syncron was entirely responsible for Breen's injury. Syncron did not appear in court and did not defend itself.

It is not known if Breen will be able to collect the judgement from Syncron as they are no longer trading.

From Herald.ie and the Irish Times (March 4 2020 article about the lawsuit, March 5 2020 article about the judge's decision and award)

Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first case we are aware of where a civil suit has been brought against a laser pointer distributor or manufacturer for an eye injury. There have been cases where government agencies have taken administrative or criminal action against illegal imports.

Canada: Driver films laser coming from oncoming car

A driver in Regina, Saskatchewan provided video of a laser being aimed at him from an oncoming car in an incident that occurred October 17 2019.

Ben Leech told the Regina Leader Post that the light "was super bright, but it only was pointing at my face for around a second, so it didn’t do too much damage or anything. It was just kind of a shock to see it." The exposure left white spot afterimages for a few seconds. There was no permanent damage.





Four frames in quick succession from a dashcam video showing the laser beam on the pavement, hood, windshield, and in the air. The video is at YouTube.


Leech could not identify the car so he did not report it to the Regina Police Service. An RPS spokesperson said they were not previously aware of automobile drivers being targeted by lasers, although it has happened to aircraft in the area.

From the Regina Leader Post, February 15 2020

US: Pointing gunsight laser at man a factor in fatal "stand your ground" shooting

On March 20, 2016, an angry, frightened man aimed a laser aiming device on a handgun at an unarmed man who had knocked on the wrong door. When the laser beam went on the unarmed man's face, he became angry, sprayed water on the gunman, made threats and charged. The gunman fired, killing the unarmed man.

Both men lived in a Fort Myers (Florida) apartment complex, in units identically numbered "102". Ryan Modell, 32, had been heavily drinking on March 19 to celebrate a new job. At about 2:30 am on March 20, Modell — wearing only shorts— knocked on the door of 46-year0old Steve Taylor, in a different unit 102.

Taylor got his 10 mm Glock handgun and answered the door. He told Modell he had the wrong unit, but to Taylor, the intoxicated Modell didn't respond and appeared drugged. Taylor said he pointed the gun at Modell, warning him not to approach, but Modell charged.

Taylor closed the door, injuring Modell's toe. Taylor's wife called police. Taylor went outside and found Modell hosing off his bloody toe. Taylor aimed the gun at Modell and turned on the laser pointer aiming device. That is when Modell sprayed water, made threats and charged.

Mark O'Mara, a lawyer for Modell's father, said Modell had an understandable reaction for a person who thought he was about to be shot. He said "If you put a laser on my chest, there is one of two things I am going to do: duck and run, or kill you."

Taylor says he fired when Modell was within two feet; O'Mara says evidence indicates it was several feet back.

The 2016 case became controversial due to Florida's "stand your ground" law being used. In January 2020, O'Mara asked Florida's governor to appoint a special prosecutor to reinvestigate the shooting, and wants Taylor charged with second-degree murder.

From WEARTV.com

US: Teen aiming gunsight laser pointer at friend pulls trigger, kills him

A 15-year-old boy shot and killed a friend as they were playing video games on January 26 2020 in Pataskala, Ohio.

Noah Bigham aimed a 9mm handgun which had a built-in laser pointer sight at his lifelong friend Hunter Cooper's eyes, to distract him during a game. Bigham pulled the trigger, firing the gun and killing his 15-year-old Cooper.

He was arrested and was charged as a juvenile with reckless homicide, a third-degree felony if committed by an adult.

Bigham's attorney called the killing "unintentional": "“The home, unfortunately, had complete access to handguns. It is my understanding the juveniles were able to have about unfettered access to firearms. This is what happens when you have firearms accessible. It’s just awful."

A police detective declined to say whether it was an accident: “We definitely can’t acknowledge an accidental shooting. We’re treating it as any shooting would be, at this point. In any investigation like this, you can’t rule anything out.”

From the Columbus Dispatch

Lebanon: Protesters use laser pointers against police

The photo below shows protesters in Beirut on January 22 2020 using laser pointers against special forces police.



They have been protesting the Lebanese government's limit on cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs, with the country on the brink of economic collapse. Riots have broken out where banks and ATMs are attacked.

There was no additional information regarding laser use or misuse during the protests — just the photo.

From the Daily Mail