A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: Student suspended 10 days, faced possible expulsion for laser pointer use in school

Quinn Mulcahy, a 6th-grade student playing with a laser pointer in a school hallway on May 25 2019, was suspended for two weeks and faced possible expulsion, despite his possession and use apparently being legal.

The Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ “Code of Student Conduct” prohibits weapons in school. It specifically addresses pointers: “When a laser pen is used to threaten, intimidate or injure, it is considered a weapon.”

The boy’s father, Paul Mulcahy, told LaserPointerSafety.com that his son only aimed a legal, low-powered laser pointer at lockers and the wall in Landstown Middle School. He said it was never used in an aggressive or potentially harmful manner. Mulcahy's account was not disputed by the school.

Mulcahy wrote “no kid should be suspended or expelled for having a cat toy at school…. A ‘spork’ from the cafeteria if used to threaten, intimidate or injure would be a more likely weapon than a 2 mW laser pointer.”

During an initial meeting on May 30, principal John Parkman told Mulcahy he was instructed to use a “Discipline Guidelines” document not available to parents, students or the public. The principal did email the father a page from the Discipline Guidelines about laser pointers which seemed to restate the Code of Conduct language. (The VBCPS Office of Student Leadership confirmed on June 11 that the Discipline Guidelines are "administration-only.")

At a second meeting on June 2, the principal said the VBCPS Office of Student Leadership decided the infraction was “Inappropriate Property” and there would be no further punishment or action beyond the two-week suspension that had already occurred.

The Code of Student Conduct defines inappropriate property as follows: “The unauthorized possession of use of any type of personal property, which disrupts the educational process, is prohibited. Specifically prohibited are electronic devices when they are not authorized or being used for academic purposes (including cell phones), lighters and other items deemed inappropriate….”

In the Discipline Guidelines, the recommended penalty for Inappropriate Property depends on the property. One option is a verbal warning or reprimand called “Level 1.” The penalty for the boy turned out to be Level 6, suspension 6-10 days. As stated above, Mulcahy had been told that expulsion was also possible. Expulsion is "Level 8," the highest punishment level.

On June 9, the school returned the laser pointer to Mulcahy.

Mulcahy says he has retained a lawyer and may take action against the principal and/or school board.
Click to read more...

Canada: Laser pointer harassment ends with machete, bat assault

On August 3 2018, two cars full of young adults were allegedly shining a laser beam into a homeless camp known as Discontent City, in the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo. Two residents of the tent city tried to stop the cars from leaving, made verbal threats, and attacked the vehicles with machetes and a baseball bat.

The men were arrested in September 2018 and were arraigned April 16 2019. Both were charged with assault with a weapon, and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose. One of the men was also charged with a breach of undertaking or recognizance. Trial was set for June 5 2019.

No charges were levied against those involved with the laser pointer harassment.

From the Nanaimo News Bulletin (arraignment story and original story)

New Zealand: Man aimed laser into two police officers' eyes

A New Zealand man aimed a laser pointer at police officers who were conducting a bail check on June 3 2018. When the officers arrived, Niki John Gamble-Mackesy, 23, deliberately aimed a green "high-powered" laser pointer [likely over the 1 milliwatt New Zealand limit] directly into the officers' eyes.

They felt "immediate discomfort and a burning sensation in their eyes" according to the police report. One of the officers had pain and headaches for the next two days, and was seen by an optometrist. There was no permanent injury to either officer.

Gamble-Mackesy was sentenced in Hamilton District Court on February 5 2019 to four years, three months in jail, and was also ordered not to drive for two years. Charges against him included injuring with intent to injure, threatening to kill, obstructing the course of justice, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop for police, and two charges of committing an act of criminal nuisance. It was not clear how much of his jail term, and how many of the charges, directly related to his laser attack on the police officers, and how many related to additional criminal actions he had taken such as strangling his domestic partner on May 26 2018, and attacking her again on June 8.

From Stuff.co.nz

Japan: Man arrested for aiming laser at bus driver in road rage act

Tokyo police in late January 2019 arrested a man for pointing a laser beam at the driver of a city bus last year. The man reportedly told police he got angry because the bus had cut in front of his car.

Police say the 38-year-old man aimed a laser pointer at the driver when he pulled alongside the bus that parked at a stop in Meguro Ward during July 2018. He was arrested for suspicion of assaulting the driver and obstructing public services.

The bus driver was unharmed but he felt that something was wrong with his eyes. He continued driving to the next stop before another driver took over.

The man left the scene at the time. But police identified him with security camera footage after receiving a report.

The man reportedly admitted to the charges.

Many similar incidents have been reported across Japan in recent years.

From NHK World-Japan

US: UPDATED - NFL quarterback targeted by laser pointer during game; fan eventually found and fined $500

National Football League quarterback Tom Brady was targeted by a green laser beam during a NFL playoff game on January 20 2019. The beam was not noticed at the time, but a reporter saw it in a video playback.



KMBC reporter William Joy highlighted the green laser beam, seen here on the center of Tom Brady's helmet. The laser appeared to be around 4 inches wide, and danced on the quarterback's upper body — it was not held steady. Video by Turner Twyman.

According to Joy, the beam was on Brady's eyes and helmet at least three times during the game: "…once right after the muffed Julian Edelman punt call was overturned when Patriots retook possession, once on a completion to Chris Hogan, and once on a deep ball to Rob Gronkowski."

The NFL's security department was looking into the incident. As of January 23 2019, Kansas City police have not received a complaint but say they will investigate if a complaint is filed.

From the Washington Post, Boston Globe, musketfire.com and many other news sources. Sports Illustrated has an especially detailed look at the safety and legal issues around laser pointer misuse at NFL games. Thanks to Doug McCullough for bringing this to our attention.

COMMENTARY BY LASERPOINTERSAFETY.COM: Based on the brightness and size of the beam in the videos, it is highly unlikely that this had enough irradiance (power density) to cause harm to any person's eyes.

Light from a laser pointer can harm human eyes at close ranges; within a few yards or meters. But at the distances involved, from a person in the stands to a player on the field, light from a handheld laser pointer would spread out (as the video shows) and would not be steady enough to allow dangerous heat to build up in the eye. This goes for both visible green light, and any non-visible infrared light (some poorly-constructed green laser pointers also emit non-visible infrared light).

The worst effect would be glare or brief flashblindness, like when a camera flash goes off close to a person's face. Since Brady did not seem to notice, and others — national sportscasters and the two teams involved — also did not notice anything unusual at the time, the laser targeting did not seem to affect the outcome of the play or of the game.

LaserPointerSafety.com has more stories about lasers misused during sporting events.

UPDATED February 3 2019: ESPN reported that Kansas City Chiefs officials, using videotape and eyewitnesses, identified the person who aimed a laser at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The person has been banned for life from the Chiefs' stadium. The officials have asked the Kansas City district attorney to bring the strongest possible charges against the person, to act as a deterrent.

ESPN also reported that "…members of the military have reached out to Brady to inform him that the lasers shined near his face could cause irreversible eye damage."

From ESPN and many subsequent sources such as the Boston Herald and CBS Sports

UPDATED April 11 2019: Dwyan Morgan, 64, was identified as the man who aimed a laser at Tom Brady during the American Football Conference championship game on January 20 2019. He was cited with one count of disturbing the peace; the penalty is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Morgan will appear in Jackson County Municipal Court on July 17.

According to Heavy.com, Morgan is an electrician from Lee's Summit, Missouri. The website also said that a younger male relative posted items on Facebook making light of the citation and Brady.


Dwyan Morgan


According to TMZ, "Sources connected to Morgan tell us ... his intention was never to hurt anyone, he was just trying to have fun and didn't expect things to blow up the way they did. We're also told Morgan was drinking before the laser incident...." TMZ also reported that "One source close to the Chiefs fan says he feels bad for embarrassing Chiefs Nation, but has no plans to apologize to the Patriots. In fact, we're told he still hates the Pats and Tom Brady ... passionately and will continue to root against them -- just not from Arrowhead [Stadium], because he's been banned."

From the
Boston Herald, Heavy.com, TMZ, and a press release from the Jackson County Prosecutor

UPDATED May 13 2019: Dwyan Morgan told Inside Edition he did not intend to injure Tom Brady. Morgan said he was intoxicated and wanted to distract the quarterback. He said "I shouldn't have done it" but also said he is not gong to apologize to Brady or the Patriots football team. From Inside Edition


Dwyan Morgan recreates his aiming a laser pointer at Tom Brady, for the TV show Inside Edition



Dwyan Morgan and his 23-year-old son Colton both appear to be amused by Dwyan getting a misdemeanor citation for "Disturbing the peace by shining a laser pointer in the direction of Tom Brady during a football game."


UPDATED July 18 2019: On July 17 2019 Dwyan Morgan pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He was fined $500. He was not given any jail time. From TMZ Sports and the Associated Press via KSNT.com

China: Laser pointers "regularly" harm children's eyes

An August 29 2018 story from Shanghai Daily is headlined "Laser pointers regularly harm children's eyes: doctors"

It notes that an 8-year-old boy playing with a laser pointer suffered irreversible retinal damage to his left eye.

The story says "such cases are not rare" at the Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital.

It also says that a "study conducted by the national quality authority found 29.8 percent of children have had access to laser products, laser pointers being the most common." It is not known what other, non-pointer, laser products were included in the study.

According to the story, the "government has issued a warning to alert parents not to buy laser pointers as toys for their children, but they are still widely available in local stationery stores. Most laser pointers don’t come with safety alerts to warn of the dangers present." The story did not say whether this was a national, provincial or local government warning.

From Shine News (Shanghai Daily)

Taiwan: 10-year-old playing with laser, trying to avoid eye, but still gets retinal damage

A 10-year-old Taiwanese boy playing with a laser pointer suffered retinal damage, according to a June 13 2018 news story.

The boy was playing with a classmate, trying to dodge the beam. At some point it hit the boy’s left eye. He felt a stinging sensation and became light sensitive.

During a routine eye exam two weeks later, a retinal burn was seen. The boy underwent photocoagulation treatment and will need regular follow-up exams to monitor the eye’s healing, but he did not suffer any vision loss, said Wu Pei-chang, director of the Department of Ophthalmology at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung (third-largest city in Taiwan).

From the Taipei Times

US: Indianapolis teen injured by laser pointer five years ago shares story

In 2013, 12-year-old Ross Vanderpool and a friend were playing with a laser pointer when Vanderpool injured his eye. The incident happened in Indianapolis although the laser was obtained from Italy (and had no informational labeling).

Vanderpool told his story in June 2018, to try to warn others to be careful about laser pointers. He said “We watched Star Wars and they had laser guns so we really didn’t know how dangerous it was.”

While he still has unspecified damage, treatment helped to repair much of the damage.

According to a news story, “the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology and the Indiana State Medical Association are working on a resolution to deal with the laser pointer issue. They hope to release their findings by the end of September [2018].”

From RTV6 The Indy Channel

Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: Star Wars depicts lasers as weapons — not as toys. People die or are severely injured by the laser blasters and laser-like lightsabers. It is not clear how someone who watches Star Wars would not understand that lasers are dangerous — at least, as used in Star Wars.

Japan: Boy who routinely stared into a laser pointer develops lesion in one eye

A boy with intellectual disabilities “from the age of 2 to 3 years stared at [a green laser pointer] with his dominant right eye every day for more than 10 seconds at a time, as if it were a toy, at a distance of 30 cm [1 foot].”

At the age of 11, he had normal 20/20 (1.0) vision in the left eye, but 20/100 vision (0.20) in the right. Examination of the right eye showed a yellow lesion or fibrous tissue surrounded by a subretinal hemorrhage in the right macula. At age 13, examination showed the lesion was leaking on fluorescein angiography. At age 14, there was no change.

The doctors elected not to perform any treatment due to the patient’s age and mental condition.

From “Choroidal Neovascularization in a Child Following Laser Pointer-Induced Macular Injury”, Fujinami, K., Yokoi, T., Hiraoka, M. et al. Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology November 2010, Vol. 54, Issue 6, pp 631-633 (2010) 54: 631. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10384-010-0876-z First online January 21 2011.

US: Teen suffers central blind spot after older brother aims 50 mW laser at him

A 13-year-old was injured by a $24.11 green laser pointer purchased on the Internet, claimed to be 50 milliwatts, after his older brother aimed the beam into his left eye from 4 feet away for approximately 1 second. According to a case report published March 1 2015, the boy noticed a blind spot immediately after the exposure and for months thereafter, although normal vision appeared to return after two years.

Tests at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Ophthalmology clinic one week after exposure showed no lesion visible to the eye (slit lamp exam) or with fundus photographs. However, Amsler grid tests indicated a central field visual defect in the left eye. Using more sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT), a 56-micron disruption area was seen:

Laser injury OCT 56 micron

Intravenous fluorescein angiography displayed a barely detectable foveal window defect:

Laser injury fluorescein angiography

The diagnosis was that the blind spot was likely to remain, unchanged, and that treatment would not be necessary or effective,

Check-ups after two months and six months showed no change. However, after two years the teen no longer complained about a blind spot, and Amsler grid results were normal — despite OCT still showing the disruption area.

In an article describing the case, the authors concluded: “Our case represents a somewhat unique instance, where a moderate-powered [Class] 3B green laser produced visually significant retinal injury without correlating fundus findings on physical examination. The injury was only detectable by OCT and questionably fluorescein angiography…. Our case demonstrates the unpredictability of retinal findings in laser exposure in this power range, and the importance of OCT when evaluating patients who present with symptoms following dangerous laser exposures… If powerful lasers continue to be marketed as benign lights and their access to adolescent hands remains just a few keystrokes away, more ocular injury of this nature can be expected.”

From Military Medicine, Volume 180, Issue 3, 1 March 2015, Pages e378–e380, https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00420

Greece: 9-year-old "repeatedly gazing" into laser causes hole in his eye

A 9-year-old boy in Greece suffered serious, permanent damage to his left eye, after “repeatedly gazing” into a green beam from a laser pointer. (Note: This is not unknown. As of June 21 2018, LaserPointerSafety.com has reported on around 15 other cases of self-inflicted eye injuries.)

The most serious injury that the boy caused was a large hole in his macula, shown with the yellow arrows.

Pic 2018-06-21 at 8.59.23 PM

Two other areas of injury were not immediately visible in a funduscopic exam of the retina (photo A, using ordinary white light) but were clearly visible using fundus autofluorescence imaging (blue arrows in photo B, using a narrow wavelength of light). The round area to the left in both photos is the optic disc, a natural feature where the optic nerve begins — it is not laser damage.

The macula is where central vision occurs. The fact that the injury occurred in the macula indicates that the boy looked directly into the laser light with his left eye. Damage to the macula is serious as this area provides high resolution, color vision in the center of the visual field.

The injury reduced the boy’s vision to 20/100 in the injured left eye; his right eye remained at 20/20. The boy’s ophthalmologists felt the hole was too large and too much time had passed since the injury for surgery. (The doctors suspected that the boy had injured his eye at least a year earlier.) Because surgery might make things worse, causing a cataract without improving the macula, they “favored conservative management.”

There was no improvement in vision even 1 1/2 years after the injury was first presented to the ophthalmologists.

The power of the laser pointer, and other details of the incident, were not described in the one-paragraph report published June 21 2018. One of the authors told CNN the boy’s father “had bought the laser as a toy from a street merchant.”

From the New England Journal of Medicine (N Engl J Med 2018; 378:2420, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm1714488) Authors: Sofia Androudi, M.D., Ph.D., and Eleni Papageorgiou, M.D., Ph.D. Additional reporting by CNN. This story was picked up by many other news sites around the world.

US: California man aims laser at motorists and sheriff's helicopter

A man aimed a green laser beam at motorists on Interstate 15 in Victorville, California, as well as aiming multiple times at a San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

The California Highway Patrol received a number of calls from motorists who saw or were illuminated by the laser light.

James Gilbert Trujillo, 33, was arrested on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft in the June 6 incident. He will appear in court June 11.

From the Victorville Daily Press and San Bernardino Sun. This news item was also filed under the Aviation incident news section.

US: Police officer playing with laser pointer on Taser forgets that Taser is armed; tases colleague

A police officer who was “horseplaying” with the laser pointer on a Taser, forgot that the weapon was armed and accidentally tased a colleague.

On March 27 2018, Officer Dan Sells of the Lafayette (Indiana) Police Department was in a hospital conference room for a debriefing, along with two other officers and a dispatcher. Sells and another officer disarmed their Taser stun guns and began shining the Taser’s laser pointer (used for aiming) at the dispatcher.

Sells became distracted for a few minutes. He then picked up the Taser, intending to continue the laser pointer horseplay. However he forgot he had armed the Taser. When he pulled the trigger to turn on the laser pointer, the Taser fired, sending the electric prongs into the dispatcher’s foot.

He received a five-day suspension for unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance, misuse of department equipment and misusing a weapon.

On May 30 2018 Sells agreed to a 10-day suspension for apparently unrelated charges (in a separate incident) of unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance, and violating evidence-gathering procedures.

From the Journal & Courier

China: Two students with macular burns from laser pointers

Two Chinese students have been treated for eye injuries caused by laser pointers.

In the first case, the macular area of a boy’s eyes were damaged so that he could not see an object at 10 cm. The damage was confirmed by retinal examination.

In the second case, a 15-year-old high school student also has burns on his macular area, from when a classmate aimed a laser pen at him. He could only see objects within 50 cm, and there were scars consistent with those left by clinical lasers.

Both cases were reported by Xie Airui, an eye specialist at the Ineye Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Both cases occurred between September 2017 and May 2018.

According to a May 31 2018 news story, laser pens have become popular with some schoolchildren in Chengdu. Many stationery shops sell them for prices between USD $0.80 and $31.00. in 2014 the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine warned consumers about laser pointer hazards. “But no market supervisors have taken up the matter in a serious way, according to Xu Bin, a lawyer in Chengdu.”

From China Daily via Ecns.cn

Scotland: Teen arrested for aiming laser pen at busses

A 14-year-old boy was charged with shining a laser pen at busses in Dundee, on November 3 2017.

A report will be sent to the Youth Justice Assessor.

The managing director of one of the busses involved said “…to shine a laser into the eyes of someone who is driving a bus is unbelievably reckless. The lives of our drivers, passengers and other road users are potentially put at risk during this sort of incident, as the person behind the wheel is temporarily blinded.”

From the Scottish Sun

UK: Teen in Luton attacked by laser light; eyes injured

A teenager from Luton, about 30 miles northwest of London, was injured by two boys, between 12 and 14 years old, who aimed a laser pen into the teen’s eyes from a distance.

According to a news story, “the boy sustained damage to his eyes and required hospital treatment.” A police spokesperson called the injuries “serious.”

Police were asking for help in finding the perpetrators of the December 4 2017 incident

From Luton Today

UK: 12-year-old has permanent eye damage from reflected laser pointer beam

A 12-year-old boy from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, received permanent eye damage from the reflected beam of a green laser he aimed at a window. Carlo Chiriatti had purchased the laser while on an overseas vacation.

An optometrist who examined the boy said “It was clear after taking a close look at Carlo’s eyes that he had suffered some sort of damage. I could see there were slight burns to the surface of the eye [cornea] and the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, had been damaged.”

According to the optometrist, the boy is likely to need glasses when he is older due to the “irreversible” damage.

Carlo’s mother said “I had no idea laser pens could do so much damage to the eyes. If we had known, we’d never have let him buy one. The damage was slight when it was detected so Carlo hadn’t complained of any issues, but thank goodness it got picked up when it did.”

From the Leicester Mercury and the Express

Scotland: Teen left with impaired vision after classmate aims laser pen at her

A 13-year-old girl suffered a permanent eye injury after a classmate aimed a laser pointer at her at close range, while on a school bus headed to Fortrose Academy, about 6 miles northeast of Inverness.

On September 12 2017, a boy turned around and aimed the laser at the girl’s face. She covered her face but he deliberately aimed at her eyes. When she arrived at school, the girl told her teacher that her eye was sore and blurry. It remained that way throughout the day.

She went to an emergency center that night, and an ophthalmologist the next day. The prognosis was that there was no physical damage and her vision should improve.

About a week later, a local optician examined her and said there was damage to her peripheral vision on the left side, and it was likely to be permanent.

The girl’s father told The Press and Journal, “I was angry. I was shocked on Saturday, I was hoping it would get better. My daughter was upset. It has knocked her confidence. What I’m really bothered about is the availability of these pens. These laser pens are a danger and people should be aware. I’m intending to write to local MSPs and the MP about it. I don’t think any children should be able to buy them. You can buy them in supermarkets and on Amazon – I don’t think that’s right. I think the legislation has to be changed.”

A survey of UK ophthalmologists reported more than 150 incidents of eye injuries involving laser pointers since 2013, the vast majority of these involving children.

From an October 12 2017 article in The Press and Journal

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: Calif. teacher loses credentials for, among other things, shining laser pointer in students' eyes

A special education teacher in the Ontario-Montclair (Calif.) School District had his teaching credentials revoked in December 2016, for abusing his students including an allegation that he shined a laser pointer in students’ eyes.

Carlos Cameron Duncan was said to have been aggressive to his students at Euclid Elementary School, to have verbally abused them, and to have used physical force, among other charges. He resigned March 8 2016. His credential revocation was reconsidered and sustained in April 2017.

There was no indication of any claim of injury from the laser pointer shining.

From a September 30 2017 article in the Daily Bulletin

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

UK: Man assaulted with laser pen, falls, requires surgery

A man in his 40s, who was walking his dog in Weymouth, Dorset, was assaulted by another man who aimed a green laser pen into the dog’s eyes. This “caused the dog to bolt forward and aggravated an existing back injury the victim had received.” The victim fell down, and the attacker then aimed the laser into the man’s eyes.

Police said that the victim “is likely to have to undergo surgery to repair damage caused to his back following this incident.”

The attack happened at about 9:20 pm on April 23 2017. Police did not release details until May 4.

From the Dorset Echo

US: Illinois man charged with aiming laser pointer at officer

Clinton N. Sanders, 33, of Gillespie, Illinois (about 38 miles NE of Saint Louis, Missouri) has been charged with aggravated battery and disorderly conduct with a laser pointer in connection with an April 28 2017 incident in which he allegedly picked an officer up off the ground in a bear hug and aimed an operating laser pointer at the officer.

From “Court News” in the Macoupin (IL) County Enquirer-Democrat

US: Man charged with assault for aiming laser at state trooper who was driving

On April 14 2017, a Michigan State Police trooper driving on his way to a crash had a laser aimed at him. The trooper’s partner was able to identify a male suspect who was taken into custody.

On April 17 state police announced that Jonathan Edward Rayner was arrested and a laser pointer was retrieved. Rayner had been a passenger in another car on the highway. The 32-year-old man was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, and with “assaulting-resisting-obstructing a police officer.” Both assault charges are felonies. The maximum penalty is four years in prison on the dangerous weapon charge, and 20 years in prison for assaulting a police officer.

Jonathan Edward Rayner laser
Jonathan Edward Rayner


The incident happened on eastbound Interstate 94 in Wayne County at about 8 pm. The trooper was taken to a hospital “with vision problems and headache.” Later that day, state police tweeted “His vision has returned and he has been cleared. Other than a serious headache he should be back to work.”

From two tweets by Michigan State Police Metro Detroit, as initially reported in
ClickOnDetroit.com. Announcement of the suspect’s name and the charges from the Detroit News, Fox 2 Detroit and the Morning Sun. Thanks to David Bothner for bringing this to our attention.

US: $13,241 in fines, 15 days in jail for Washington state man who aimed at a ferry

On December 27 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard assessed a civil penalty of $9,500 against Mark Raden, 27, for “interfering with the safe operation of a vessel” by aiming a blue laser at a Washington state ferry on October 22 2015. One of the ferry’s officers was said to have burns on his eyelid.

Raden also pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in Island County Superior Court. He was ordered to serve 15 days in jail, perform 240 hours of community service, pay $3,740.89 in restitution to the master and chief mate, and serve 24 months probation.

On April 26 2016, the Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden. According to a Coast Guard press release at the time, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae [ferry] while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton [in Washington state]. The final civil penalty amount [which turned out to be $9,500] will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.”

A Coast Guard spokesperson told Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica "Originally there were multiple charges that brought the maximum amount to $100,000 [as] referenced in the original [press] release. Ultimately the hearing officer has the final say and chose to only pursue the one charge for 'interfering with the safe operation of a vessel' and assessed a fine of $9,500."

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From the Chronicle, the San Juan Islander and Ars Technica. The original LaserPointerSafety.com story about the incident is here; an updated story with news about Raden’s arrest and the Coast Guard penalty is here. Additional details of Raden’s previous run-ins over misusing lasers can be found in an April 11 2016 HeraldNet story.

US: Fan banned from basketball arenas for aiming laser at player

A Houston Rockets player had a laser pointer aimed at him, during a January 4 2016 National Basketball Association game against the Utah Jazz. The player, James Harden, pointed to the stands.

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden 00


The perpetrator was found and was ejected from the arena:

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden


He was later banned from NBA arenas for a year.

After the game, Harden said “Some guy was lasering me. I saw it the first time and I thought it was a picture being taken. I went to the foul line again and it happened again. The referee [Tom Washington] caught it before I did. That’s the first time that happened to me.”

Two days later, Harden told ESPN “That's just disrespectful, not just to a basketball player, anybody. Whoever that guy was he wouldn't want to be lasered in the face, so that was disrespectful. It's not my call [on the fan being banned], I'm just trying not to get blind."

From the Houston Chronicle, SB Nation and USA Today

US: Man charged with using laser pointer to lure feral cats into dog attack

A witness reported a man and his pit bull dog were “terrorizing” feral cats on Digital Drive. The man would use a laser pointer to lure the cats out from a dark corner so that his dog could attack the felines. The disturbance was reported 11:10 p.m. December 4 2016.

From the December 8 2016 “Police blotter” report in the Morgan Hill (Calif.) Times

US: Man charged with pointing laser at two Va. police officers

A man was charged for shining a laser on two Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department officers on December 6 2016.

Just after 2 a.m., two officers, dressed in full uniform, responded to the 12200 block of Water Elm Lane for a report of concern for a garage door that was left partially open. As they waited outside a home to speak to someone, one officer noticed a red laser pointed directly at them. Not knowing the source or purpose of the light, both officers took cover.

They saw the suspect standing on an apartment balcony nearby, in the 4400 block of Milroy Way. They went to the apartment and identified the suspect, who was cooperative. Officers determined the device was a small laser pointer.

Johnny A. Tela, 24, of Centreville, was issued a summons for pointing a laser at a law-enforcement officer (Va State code 18.2-57.01).

From a Fairfax County Police Department news story

Scotland: Woman attacked by teens with laser pen, blinded in one eye

A 33-year-old woman was blinded in one eye by a laser pen during an attack by two boys who were about 14 or 15 years old.

She was walking on a road, under a railway bridge, in Clydebank when the incident took place at about 10 pm on September 10 2016. The exact nature of the attack — whether money was demanded or if the lasing was random — was not described in news accounts.

The woman was taken to a hospital about 4 miles away. She later reported the assault to the police. News about the attack was not released until a week later.

News reports quoted a Police Scotland spokesperson as saying, “This was a completely unprovoked and senseless attack on this woman, which has left her blind in one eye. The youths responsible must be caught as soon as possible. To point a laser pen at someone is highly irresponsible. Extensive inquiries are ongoing to trace the two boys, with officers carrying out inquiries in the local area and studying CCTV footage to identify them.”

The attack comes just a few days after a man was arrested for aiming a laser pen at a Police Scotland helicopter in Clydebank on September 5 2016.

From BBC News and Glasgow Evening Times

US: Family robbed by men who threatened them with a laser pointer

At about 1 am on September 13 2016, a family was robbed in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, convenience store parking lot by three men. One of them aimed a laser pointer at the father and demanded cash and purses. The family turned over the items and the men left.

A news story states “It’s not clear if the men had any weapons.”

From NewsOn6.com

US: Disorderly man aims laser pointer at police officer

A disorderly man was arrested in New Castle, Indiana, for aiming a red laser pointer at a police officer.

At about 4:35 am on September 11 2016, city police were called to a tavern where 57-year-old David Roginski was trying to enter — although the tavern was closed. He shouted at officers, flipped a lit cigarette at them, then pointed the laser at an officer while hiding behind a traffic light box.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and with directing a laser pointer at a public safety officer. Each charge could result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days. (On September 13, he was separately charged with auto theft, stemming from allegedly stealing a vehicle on September 7. Roginski has had multiple past run-ins with the law, as well.)

From the Star Press and the Courier-Times

US: Study examines four laser-caused eye injuries in children, at one medical practice

A study in the October 2016 journal Pediatrics described four cases where children had laser-related eye injuries, all being presented at a single clinical practice within a two-year period. The authors call this “[t]o our knowledge, the largest reported case series of laser pointer-induced retinal damage in the pediatric population in a developed country to date.”

In a separate interview, one of the authors, ophthalmologist Dr. David Almeida, said these cases are “happening more frequently…. It was previously thought this was a one-in-a-million event. It's still probably a rare-to-uncommon reaction, but it's not a never reaction.”

All four children had foveal laser burns. Three of the children had potentially permanent vision loss. These are the cases:

  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a green laser pointer for about a minute. He had decreased central vision in both eyes, with 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/30 in another. His vision and macular condition was found to be unchanged after 7 months.
  • A 16-year-old teenager similarly had central vision loss in both eyes, after playing with a green laser pointer for about 30 seconds. He was first examined three days after the exposure, scars and atrophy were found on the retina. Two weeks later his vision has worsened. Visual acuity was 20/40 in both eyes with no improvement.
  • A 9-year-old boy looked at the reflection of a green laser pointer in a mirror (essentially the same as a direct beam) for an unknown length of time. His vision was 20/50. He was treated with 1% prednisolone three times a day for two weeks. His vision improved to 20/30, but he still had “persistent abnormalities of the photoreceptors.”
  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a red laser pointer for about 15 seconds. He had central vision loss, and 20/70 vision. He was given an injection of bevacizumab, which gradually improved his vision and symptoms. After 1 year, he had 20/20 vision.

The authors noted that laser pointers are more available, that users may not be aware of the dangers, and that some users may use pointers improperly.

Visible lasers less than 5 milliwatts (the U.S. legal standard for a laser to be marketed as a “pointer”) are considered to be generally safe due to the bright light reflex, which causes a person to blink and turn away from a bright light. So one question is why these children were injured by laser pointers.

One reason, according to the authors, is that “children increase their chance to retinal injury by staring at the laser beam without blinking or averting the eye for a prolonged duration.”

Another possible cause is that “the labeling of the power output of a laser point may be different from the device’s actual specifications.” They referred to a study of 122 laser pointers, where 90% of green pointers and 44% of red pointers were above the 5 milliwatt U.S. legal limit.

The study said that treatment options were “limited and also controversial.” Use of corticosteroids has shown “mixed results.” It may be enough to observe a patient over time, since many injuries will stabilize.

The authors recommended that laser pointer hazards “should be communicated to health professionals, school teachers, and guardians in an attempt to raise the public awareness of this emerging public health issue. Unsupervised use of these laser pointer devices among children should be discouraged, and there is a need for legislation to limit these devices in the pediatric population.”

From Retinal Injury Secondary to Laser Pointers in Pediatric Patients, Kunyong Xu, Eric K. Chin, Polly A. Quiram, John B. Davies, D. Wilkin Parke III and David R.P. Almeida, in Pediatrics; originally published online September 1, 2016; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1188. A general interest article summarizing the study, with additional comments from Almeida and another ophthalmologist, is at HealthDay.com. The abstract of the Pediatrics article is below; click the “Read More…” link.


Click to read more...

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

Australia: NSW man avoids conviction for shining laser pointer in public place

A man who owned a laser pointer for two days, was arrested after aiming it on an administration building in the Wollongong (New South Wales) train station.

On May 21 2016 Anthony Vella, 20, was trying out a laser pointer purchased as a gift for him by his brother, to see how far the light was visible. Two transport command police officers saw the laser being used, and charged Vella with using a laser pointer in a public place. They also confiscated the pointer. In testing, they noted that the laser dot was “clearly visible” on a wall 500 meters away.

On July 26 2016 Vella pleaded guilty. His lawyer said Vella was not aware that use of a laser pointer in a public place was illegal.

The judge ruled that Vella broke the law but did not record a criminal conviction due to Vella’s prior good character and lack of malicious intent.

From the Illawarra Mercury

US: UPDATED - 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.

UPDATED April 2 2018 - Jeffrey Klopotic contacted LaserPointerSafety.com in late March 2018. He stated that three of the officers who used excessive force during his arrest have resigned (not necessarily due to his particular case), and a fourth officer was recently disciplined for tasing a man three times “as he did to me.”

A February 16 2018 story in the Green Bay Press Gazette describes three officers who resigned in 2017, one “following an excessive-force case” and two “to avoid discipline for having harassed fellow officers in 2016.” In the excessive force case, officers “wrongly interpreted a man’s slow response to commands as ‘actively resisting’ arrest, and found that what officers concluded was an attempt to reach for a gun was actually the man’s attempt to keep his pants from falling down.”

Klopotic stated that he pleaded no contest “under pressure”. He provided documentation showing he had to pay $686 in a fine or court cost. He also said he is waiting for a police department investigation to conclude before filing a lawsuit about his arrest.

US: UPDATED - Wash. state man charged with lasing ferry; ordered to pay $100,000 fine

27-year-old Mark Raden was alleged to have injured two ferry captains with a nominal 1-watt blue handheld laser. The captains were temporarily blinded and had eye irritation after the October 22 2015 incident. On April 1 2016, Raden was charged with two counts of third-degree assault. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The almost six-month delay was due in part because the crime took place in waters between jurisdictions, making it more complex to determine who would prosecute.

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - May 2 2016: The U.S. Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden on April 26 2016. According to a Coast Guard press release, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton. The final civil penalty amount will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.” The text of the press release is below (click on the “Read More…” link).

Click to read more...

Australia: Teen injures both eyes by looking into laser pointer

A 14-year-old Australian permanently damaged his retinas by deliberately shining a laser pointer into his eyes “for a very brief period of time”, according to the optometrist who examined the teen.

From a November 5 news account, it appears the injury occurred on Friday October 30 2015. The boy saw a general practitioner the following Monday, who then referred the teen to Ben Armitage, a Hobart (Tasmania) optometrist.

Armitage said the boy did not feel pain during the exposure, but he immediately lost visual acuity. “His vision is down to about 25 percent of what we call 20/20 vision and unfortunately at this stage it’s unlikely that vision is ever going to recover.”

Retina laser damage 2015-11-5 Australia
Retina of one of the teen’s two eyes that were damaged by a self-inflicted laser pointer exposure. The injury occurred near the macula. At the center of the macula is the fovea, responsible for sharp central vision.


The damaged area is still swollen; Armitage hopes that some vision may be restored when the swelling recedes.

An Optometry Tasmania spokesperson warned parents not to allow children unsupervised access to laser pointers “and, in fact, better off trying to warn them off because we’ve just seen in this particular case where the future lifestyle of this young person has been seriously affected.”

From ABC (Australia) News

US: Blue laser pointer said to injure ferry captain in Washington state

The captains of a Washington state ferry were each hit by blue laser light, aimed at them by a man in his twenties from a passing ferry. The October 22 2015 incident lasted about a minute, and resulted in eye injuries to one of the captains. Also, earlier that same evening, a motorcyclist on Whidbey Island had a blue laser aimed at him while going to the ferry terminal.

This map shows the ferries’ route. The map’s indicated positions of the ferries are from a later time and do NOT show their position during the laser incident.

Washington State ferries map

At about 8:30 pm, the ferry M/V Tokitae (shown below) was approaching the Clinton (Wash.) Ferry Terminal. The captains were at wheelhouses on opposite ends of the 362-foot-long ferry. The one piloting the vessel was hit first, and suffered injuries.

Washington State Ferry MV Tokitae 01

According to Washington State Ferries Port Captain Jay Mooney, the man had “third-degree burns on his eyelid and his vision is still not quite back at 100 percent.” (A first-degree burn occurs only on the surface of the skin. A third-degree burn “extends to all layers of the skin,” according to the Wikipedia “Burn” article.)

The blue laser beam came from the slightly smaller ferry M/V Kitsap, which was traveling in the opposite direction.

Washington State Ferry MV Kitsap 328ft

A Kitsap deckhand had seen two men with the laser, and reported it to a Washington State Patrol trooper after arrival at the terminal in Mukilteo. One man told the officer that “it was a new toy and he was shining it at the water and didn’t mean to shine it at the vessel,” according to a WSP spokesperson. The trooper confiscated the laser pointer, shown here:

Blue laser Washington state ferry

The spokesperson said “This is not a typical laser you’d see in a classroom or office setting.” She referenced the manufacturer’s packaging which says to use safety glasses, to not aim it at faces, and that it could light a match if held on target long enough.

A similar-looking laser sold by Lasers-Pointers.com is said to be 5000 mW (5 watts) and costs less than $200:

Lasers-Pointers dot com 5W blue laser

The two captains exposed to the laser light missed one day of work. The suspect who had the laser has not yet been charged, as of October 29 2015. Prosecutors are determining what charges would be appropriate.

UPDATED - November 9 2015: No arrests have yet been made and no charges have been filed, more than two weeks after a suspect was picked up. This is due in part to determining what jursidiction applied, since the laser incident took place on ferries in waters between different Washington state counties. Another difficulty was determining what charge to file. A KIRO radio story also noted the limitations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates lasers. While FDA attempts to block some high-powered lasers, imports can get through. And, “there aren't any penalties for buying or owning those illegally high-powered devices, nor are there requirements for training for non-medical, non-industrial devices.” From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - April 18 2015: 27-year-old Mark Raden was charged with assault in the third degree, for aiming at the ferry captains. In addition, he has a previous history of run-ins with law enforcement over laser misuse. Details are here.

An analysis of the laser’s power and capabilities is below (click on the “read more” link).

From KOMO News, Q13Fox, the Kitsap Sun and Wikipedia. Ferry drawings and route map from Washington State Department of Transportation website. Laser pointer info from Lasers-Pointers.com.

Click to read more...

US: Tennessee man "nearly causes accident' aiming laser pointer at cars on Interstate

A 34-year-old Chattanooga (TN) man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at vehicles on Interstate 75.

A motorist called 911 to report that a male in the front passenger seat of a silver Honda was shining the laser onto cars and trucks. The caller said the laser made it difficult to see, and almost caused a crash involving an 18-wheel truck and another vehicle. The Honda was traveling northbound on I-75 in Bradley County, east of Chattanooga.

Officers located the car, where Gary Dewayne Couey admitted aiming the laser at other vehicles. He was arrested on a charge of felony reckless endangerment. The driver of the car, 34-year-old Brandi Rapier, was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Gary Dewayne Couey laser
Gary Dewayne Couey


From WDEF, the Chattanoogan, and the Times Free Press

US: San Mateo CA police report elderly man with cane aiming laser at cars around 3 am

The San Mateo County police report for June 29 2015 included this item:

  • BURLINGAME: Suspicious person. An elderly man with a cane was pointing a laser pointer at passing vehicles on Linden Avenue and Oak Grove Avenue before 2:50 a.m.

From the
San Mateo Daily Journal, published July 6 2015

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: Florida man points laser at motorists, arrested, found with marijuana up his rear

A 27-year-old man was arrested on April 5 2015 for aiming a laser beam at motorists as he was driven by his girlfriend around Ormond Beach, Florida. When asked why she was being pulled over, driver Brandie Tate, 28, said “Because Jesse was shining the laser light at people and I told him not to.” Passenger Jesse Roepcke told police he did not know it was illegal to shine the light at people and “he was just having fun.”

Police found a smoking device on Roepke that later tested positive for cannabis. During a strip search of Roepcke at the jail, “a bag of a green leafy substance that smelled like marijuana fell out of his rectum.”

Jesse Roepcke laser marijuana
Jesse Roepcke


Roepke was charged with pointing a laser at a driver or pilot, possession or use of narcotic paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and smuggling contraband into a prison.

From ClickOrlando.com and WFTV.com

US: Colorado senior used laser pointer while stalking 10-year-old neighbor girl

A 67-year-old Green Mountain Falls, Colorado man convicted of stalking a 10-year-old neighbor girl, used a laser pointer as part of his crimes. Louis Pico aimed the pointer at the girl’s window at night. When she looked out, he would expose himself to the girl.

In addition, the man left notes, money and candy for the girl, and used binoculars to look into their home.

Louis Pico laser stalker
Louis Pico


To avoid having their child testify at a trial, the victim’s parents agreed to a plea bargain deal. Pico pleaded guilty to promotion of obscenity in a minor. He received a 30-day jail sentence, was registered as a sex offender, was forbidden to have any contact with persons 18 or younger, and was required to have mental health treatment.

From KKTV 11 News and The Gazette

Austria: Pre-teen has "massive" damage from misusing laser pointer

From Agence-France Presse:

A 12-year-old Austrian boy has suffered "massive and lasting" damage to his eyes after playing with a laser pointer, with his vision reduced by 60 percent, doctors said.

"We think that he was playing with a mirror and that the rays were reflected," said Yosuf El-Shabrawi, chief doctor at the Klagenfurt am Wörthersee clinic in Carinthia, southern Austria.

"His injuries cannot be treated. We can only hope that the worst of the injuries heal themselves and that his condition improves," El-Shabrawi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The boy's father bought the laser pointer on the Internet where it was advertised as a toy for playing with cats.

After a week the boy, named as Lukas, complained of a constant black mark in his field of vision.

The laser pointer in question was labelled as "Class 2" with an output under the European Union legal limit, but it lacked a so-called EN standardisation certificate, El-Shabrawi said.

AFP story on The Local, the Rakyat Post, iAfrica.com, and other news sources

US: Father of teen banned for NFL lasering asks police protection from opposing team's fans

The father of the teenager who aimed a laser at Buffalo Bills players during an October 5 2014 NFL football game has asked for police protection from harassing Bills fans, reports Michigan news source MLive.com.

According to reporter Eric Lacy, the father asked for help from police in West Bloomfield, a township in the Detroit metropolitan area, on October 10, one day after the Detroit Lions confirmed they had located the youth.

The name of the 17-year-old laser perpetrator was reported by ESPN, ABC News and other sources to be Mark (or Marko) Beslach of West Bloomfield. Before the October 5 NFL match in Detroit, a tweet from “@MarkoBeslach” said he was going to put a green light on Buffalo Bills players. After the game, a follow-up tweet said he “got Kyle Orton”, the Bills’ quarterback. The Twitter account was deleted later that day, but a screenshot of the two tweets was widely circulated on the Internet. According to Detroit Lions officials, the laser perpetrator was caught in part because of social media postings.

The Lions banned the youth from Ford Field “indefinitely”, and he was charged with disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor requiring payment of a small fine). The Lions also revoked the season tickets of the person who provided tickets to the perpetrator and had a “close relationship” with him, according to an earlier ESPN report.

The nature of the Bills fans’ harassment was not known. Calls by MLive.com to the family phone were not answered. MLive.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the West Bloomfield police department to get more information about the request for police assistance.

From MLive.com. Thanks to Dan Goldsmith for bringing this to our attention. LaserPointerSafety.com has additional stories about the original October 5 2014 incident, and the October 9 announcement by the Detroit Lions that they had found and punished the laser offender.

US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players

The NFL football fan who shined a green laser pointer beam at two players on October 5 2014, has been “banned indefinitely from attending all future events at Ford Field,” according to an October 9 press release from the Detroit Lions football team.

In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).

Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).

In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”

The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”

Marko Beslach ABC News laser pointer Lions Bills Orton
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”


In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.

A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.

Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”

The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.

The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.

Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.

Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.

From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.

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

Iceland: Teen injures both eyes playing with 90 mW laser pointer

A 13-year-old Icelandic boy was “seriously” injured in both eyes after playing with a 90 milliwatt laser pointer purchased outside the country. He was said to have lost central vision in one eye.

The teen was treated at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik. The head physician at the Department of Ophthalmology says the hospital has never seen such a severe case of laser pointer injury.
Click to read more...

US: 8th grader suspended for waving gun-shaped laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indiana boy was suspended for a week from his school, for waving a laser pointer in the school’s parking lot on September 11 2014. According to police, the pointer “could look like a gun.” (It is unknown if the pointer actually was gun-shaped like in the photo on this page, or if it was a different shape, such as the cylinder of a barrel, that could be mistaken for a gun, or part of a gun.)

A police spokesman said that laser pointers “are very dangerous in and of themselves, but anytime you have anything that looks like a firearm it’s obviously a danger and would be considered a credible threat.”

The boy obtained the laser pointer from a classmate, who was given a three day suspension.

A news story noted that it is illegal in Indiana to point a laser at a police officer, and recounted a previous incident when a student was arrested for shining a laser in the face of a school liaison officer.

From NWI.com

China: South Korea regrets laser pointer aimed at Chinese Premier by SK athlete

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had a laser pointer shined on his face during the August 28 2014 closing ceremony of the Youth Olympics in Nanjing. A South Korean athlete was blamed for the incident, which occurred as Li was waving to the crowd and was taking his seat in front of 60,000 spectators.


China premier laser pointer on face
“Internet photo” from Want China Times showing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, with green laser light on his face.


The South Korean embassy in Beijing issued a statement saying “It’s extremely improper and regrettable to shine a laser pointer on state leader. This should not have happened.”

According to the statement, the embassy was investigating in order to “confirm facts.”

Click to read more...

US: Florida man buys laser pointer; arrested hours later for aiming at motorists, officer

A Florida man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at motorists -- and eventually at a Daytona Beach Shores officer -- at about 12:30 am on June 16 2014. When told he had committed a felony, the man apologized to the officer, who accepted the apology. Nonetheless, Walter Nevarez, 22, of Lakeland, was charged with pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot.

Pic 2014-08-18 at 4.21.48 PM
Walter Nevarez


Nevarez had purchased the laser earlier in the evening. Riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s car, he began aiming the laser at oncoming cars, including the officer’s car.

After later told a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he did not know it was illegal to misuse a laser pointer. He said he had been pointing it at a treeline and did not intend it to shine it at anyone’s eyes.

A defense attorney quoted by the newspaper said “If you are going to criminalize the conduct or behavior, then the government needs to explain and make the public aware why their action poses a potential danger.”

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal

Australia: MP apologizes for shining laser pointer on colleague

A Member of Parliament apologized to his colleague after shining a red laser pointer on his forehead while they were sitting in a Western Australia Legislative Council meeting in Perth, on May 8 2014.

The president of the Council stopped the proceedings when he noticed the red dot on Liberal MP Bernie Finn, and said “It is extraordinary and a matter of concern to have that sort of device aimed at a member and it wasn’t just once, it was on his forehead a couple of times. You’re actually very lucky in this circumstance that I don’t send you out of the house because I regard it as that serious.”

Labor MP Adem Somyurek apologized to Finn, saying he had collected the pen from an exhibition inside Parliament and had been playing with it in the Council. “I shouldn’t have done that, I consider Mr Finn a friend,” said Somyurek.

From Perth Now

US: Man arrested for aiming laser at drivers

A 21-year-old was arrested February 26 2014 for aiming a green laser into cars the night before. The incidents occurred in Newton, Massachusetts.

The unnamed man was charged with disorderly conduct and with assault and battery. Although there were also two reports of a green laser being aimed from the Newton area at aircraft, the man was not charged or associated directly with those incidents.

A hearing is scheduled for March 25 in Newton District Court.

From the Boston Globe

UK: Journal report of five children injured by laser pens

A report published online January 17 2014 in Eye, the journal of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, discusses five case reports of children injured by laser pointers and “toys” in the Sheffield, South Yorkshire area.

According to the abstract, “Clinically, three children had an acute vitelliform-like maculopathy which resolved to leave sub-foveal retinal pigment epithelium changes with reduced vision. One case was complicated by a choroidal neovascular membrane.”

  • Case 1 was of a nine-year-old boy who on December 22 2013 was tested with normal vision of 6/5 (U.S. 20/17 -- better than 20/20) but on December 26 complained of vision loss and was found to have 6/12 (20/40) in the left eye and 6/15 (20/50) in the right eye. The family said he was given a laser pointer as a “toy” and had been playing with it on Christmas Day. The child denied looking directly into the laser beam. The family had three laser pens: a 57 mW blue 405nm, a 42 mW green 532 nm, and a 72 mW red 650nm. All exceeded the British Standard of 5 mW for a Class 3R laser. The boy was prescribed steroids. Nine months after the initial complaint, the best corrected vision was 6/9.5 (20/32), and optical coherence tomography showed persistent outer retinal layer disruption at the fovea. [The boy was later identified in press coverage as William Jackson, from Wadsley. Details are at The Star.]

  • Case 2 was of an 11-year-old boy. He had decreased vision in both eyes of 6/7.5 (20/25). Eight weeks later he had sub-foveal retinal pigment epithelium changes. His vision was 6/12 (20/40) in the right eye and 6/15 (20/50) in the left eye. He said that a friend had aimed a laser into both of his eyes before the decreased vision occurred. The doctors were not able to examine what they characterized as the laser “toy”.

  • Case 3 was of a 15-year-old girl. She aimed a laser pen into both eyes for 30 seconds. The next day she had scotomas (vision loss or spots) in both eyes. Her right eye was 6/7.5 (20/25) and her left eye was 6/6 (20/20). Upon examination, a vitelliform-like maculopathy (abnormality in the macula or central vision area) was seen. She did not return for follow-up visits.

  • Case 4 was of an 8-year-old boy who had reduced vision of 6/12 (20/40) in his right eye, and normal vision of 6/6 (20/20) in his left eye. The right fovea was seen to have retinal pigment epithelial changes “consistent with laser burns.” The boy admitted he had played with a laser pointer a few months before, but said he did not point it directly at his eye.

  • Case 5 was of a 13-year-old boy who had noticed declining vision in his right eye. It was found to be 6/36 (20/120); his left eye was 6/6 (20/20). He admitted aiming a laser pointer into his right eye. A fibrosed choroidal neovascular membrane was found at the right fovea.

The authors noted that “The retinal damage reported following such injuries is variable. This is due to variety of laser powers and wavelengths as well as ocular factors such as fundal pigmentation, blink responses, pupil size, and proximity of the laser burn to the fovea. Assessment of alleged laser eye injury requires accurate history and examination. Treatment for such laser retinal injuries is uncertain. Oral corticosteroids are sometimes administered.”

The authors stated that some laser devices are marketed as “toys”. They said they are aware of other children in the U.K. with retinal injuries from imported laser pointers. They conclude: “We suggest that children should not be given laser pointers as toys.”

From “‘Toy’ laser macular burns in children”, in Eye (2014) 1-4, by N. Raoof, TKJ Chan, NK Rogers, W Abdullah, I Haq, SP Kelly and FM Quhill. A downloadable PDF version is here. A story from the Bolton News gives some additional comments from author SP Kelly.

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: Man arrested for lasing a driver who suffers blurry vision

A driver had a laser beam aimed into his car about a dozen times, coming from another car. The beam hit the first driver’s inside rearview mirror and went into his right eye.

He contacted police, who were able to catch up with him and the other car. The first driver said he had blurry vision in his right eye and was going to follow up with his eye doctor.

The driver of the other car, Michael R. Fierke, 26, was found to have a “small package for a laser” on the front seat. Fierke was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The incident occurred April 9 2013 in Downers Grove, Illinois, a village 22 miles west of Chicago.

From the Downers Grove Patch

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: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest

A 20-year-old man used a green laser pointer to harass persons playing soccer indoors in Naperville, Illinois, on December 22 2013. When confronted by an officer, Raul Marquez resisted arrest and injured the officer’s shoulder.

According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.

Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.

From the Naperville Sun

UK: Football fan arrested after aiming laser at Chelsea manager

An unnamed man was reportedly arrested in West London for aiming a green laser pen at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, and Chelsea players, during a December 11 2013 Champions League match with Steaua Bucharest.

The game was held in Chelsea’s home stadium at Stamford Bridge. The laser appeared to come from the “away” end of the stadium. An announcement was made, in English and Romanian, warning the fans to stop using the laser.

Ashley Cole laser
Chelsea player Ashley Cole has laser light aimed onto his face


The manager told reporters the laser did not unduly affect him: “I can’t worry about that during the game. I don’t know if it can create problems or not. But during the game I felt it a couple of times. I felt the green, I felt no pain.”

Chelsea went on to win the match 1-0.

From SuperSport, the London Evening Standard and VitalFootball.co.uk

China: Man detained 5 days for aiming laser pointer at football fans, players and referees

A football fan repeatedly aimed a laser pointer, smuggled into Jinan Olympic Stadium, in the eyes of the opposing team’s fans and players, plus referees, during an October 30 2013 Chinese Super League game between Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guoan.

The man was caught by police, who said he would be held in custody five days.

From the Business Standard

US: College football player threatens officer with laser pointer; is arrested and suspended

Braxton Lane, a defensive back for the University of Cincinnati, was arrested September 29 2013 for threatening a police offer with a laser pointer.

At 5:00 am, police responded to a call at a house near the university. Lane, 22, got into a verbal dispute with an officer. He said he would shoot an officer and then aimed a laser pointer from a second-story window at the officer, who felt threatened by potential physical harm. The officer called for backup.

Pic 2013-09-30 at 6.29.04 PM

Lane was arrested, and the next day was released on $15,000 bond. A hearing on the charges of menacing and inducing panic was set for October 11. Lane, who had not yet played in any UC football games, was also suspended from the team indefinitely.

From WLWT.com and Fox19

US: "Criminal mischief" for Ohio man who aimed laser at neighbor's surveillance camera

A man in Barberton, Ohio was issued a court summons for criminal mischief on September 3 2013, for using a laser to damage a neighbor’s surveillance camera. On August 19 2013, the motion sensor on the camera was disabled by a laser beam that was pointed at it. On August 22, the neighbor showed police a video from the surveillance camera, identifying a suspect. Police talked with him and the man admitted aiming the laser at the camera. The case will be heard in Barberton Municipal Court.

From Ohio.com

New Zealand: Store worker describes laser attack which caused stinging eyes, headache, dizziness

In a letter to the editor of the Taranaki (New Zealand) Daily News, a woman described the effects of laser light in her eyes. On July 20 2013, Therese Costello of Whalers Gate was in her store serving a customer when the passenger of a car outside, waiting at a light, aimed a laser beam at Costello. She said she “was left with stinging eyes, a very strong headache, [and] a constant state of dizziness for the next few hours.” She said she was still feeling the effects as she wrote the letter.

From Stuff.co.nz via Taranaki Daily News. The full text of the letter is below. Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse; in this case, to give an idea of what it is like for someone to suffer a laser attack.
Click to read more...

US: Angry teen aims laser at car, causing eye pain and flashblindness

A 19-year-old man was arrested August 2 2013 after he aimed a laser pointer at a car with five occupants, causing eye pain to one passenger and causing another to be temporarily blinded.

Trenton Demoor was angry because a coffee shop in Parkland, Washington refused him service at the drive-through window, because Demoor was on foot. He began screaming at employees. He then aimed a laser pointer at the car when the driver asked what the argument was about. Demoor yelled “You guys want to get shot?”, and then lased two of the passengers.

He was arrested on five counts of illegally discharging a laser and possession of methamphetamines. Bail was set at $30,000.

US: Motocross rider's brother said to aim laser pointer at rivals during race

A professional motocross organization issued fines totaling $15,500 plus additional penalties after the brother of competitor Mike Alessi was accused of aiming a green laser pointer into the eyes of his brother’s rivals just before a race began. The incident occurred July 20 2013 during the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, held in Washington state.

A video from the helmet cam of one of the targeted racers shows green flashes on his front visor, just before the starting gate drops. In addition, a photo taken at the same time shows a green glow above a distant spectator’s shoulder (circled in yellow below).

Pic 2013-07-31 at 5.52.25 PM

After the race, riders complained to MX Sports, the event organizer. Race personnel went through the crowd and soon found a retired pro racer with a green laser pointer in his hand.

Jeff Alessi initially denied the laser attack and tried to blame his girlfriend. A race official confiscated the laser and Alessi’s credentials which turned out to belong to his father. Later, an argument ensued which was captured on video, between Alessi and his father, and a journalist.

On July 22, MX Sports suspended Jeff Alessi’s eligibility and fined him $500. His father was suspended for the rest of the outdoor season. Alessi’s brother Mike, who competed in the disputed race, was fined $10,000 for the laser incident and $5,000 for transferring his father’s credentials to his brother.

The laser was described by MX Sports as “a powerful green laser pointer torch, capable of reaching considerable distance.”

Click to read more...

Australia: AUS $400 fine for possessing laser pointer in public

A 24-year-old Orange, NSW man was fined AUS $400 on May 16 2013, for possessing a laser pointer in a public place.

On March 9 2013, Patrick Toohey was in a vehicle that was stopped for a random breath test. Police said they smelled cannabis and that Toohey and his four friends had bloodshot eyes, and thus searched the vehicle. The laser pointer was found in a bag. Toohey’s lawyer later said in court that Toohey had put the pointer in the bag “some time ago and had completely forgotten about it.” No cannabis was found, and the driver passed the breath test.

Toohey pleaded guilty to the laser pointer possession charge. During the sentencing phase on May 16, Toohey’s lawyer said his client was employed full-time and had been in a steady relationship for two years. He asked for leniency due to Toohey pleading guilty early in the case.

From the Central Western Daily

US: Man buys pointer at Dallas Walmart, immediately aims at officer and is arrested

The Dallas Observer blog relates a story of a man who purchased a red laser pointer at a Dallas area Walmart, and immediately aimed it at a uniformed Dallas police officer. The officer had “temporary blindness” according to the story. The man, identified only as “Mr. Evans” was arrested and given a ticket with a fine of up to $500. The incident occurred at 3:45 am on April 11 2013.

From the Dallas Observer. As of April 12 2013, LaserPointerSafety.com has not been able to find any other source for this story, including news articles and the Dallas Police Department website.

Canada: B.C. driver said to have possible eye damage from green laser

A woman driving in the left lane on Highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., reported that she was passed on the right side by a grayish Audi. The Audi pulled in front of her and a male passenger stood up through the sunroof, spat on the workman’s windshield, then sat down and aimed a green laser through the back window at the woman. The Audi then sped off.

The RCMP said the woman may have suffered unspecified eye damage in the February 27 2013 assault. They asked for the public’s assistance in finding the female driver and male passenger of the Audi.

From The Province

US: Student charged with laser pointer assault at high school

On Feb. 27 2013, a youth was involved in a laser pointer incident at Brookfield (CT) High School. Around March 19 2013, he was formally charged in juvenile court with 3rd degree assault and with illegal use of a laser pointer. The name of the youth and details were not released.

From the Brookfield Patch

US: UPDATED - St. Louis teen given probation for Aug 2012 lasing of baseball players

A 17-year-old who aimed a laser at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player and manager in an August 6 2012 incident, pleaded guilty on December 14 to disturbing the peace at an athletic event. As part of a plea agreement announced January 4 2013, Eric Bogard was sentenced to six months probation, 20 hours of community service, and paying $500 restitution to the Cardinals. If he remains on good behavior, his arrest record will be expunged; otherwise he would have a permanent record and could be jailed.

The plea agreement dropped a second charge of using a laser beam to harass or annoy another person. He could have been fined up to $500 and been jailed for between 30 and 90 days (sources differ as to the maximum sentence for this offense).

Bogard’s lawyer said his client made “an extreme error in judgement”. He also said that Bogard was not the person “who actually did most of the harassing [and] disturbing the peace.”

A St. Louis official said the plea agreement had been cleared with the baseball Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional information is at LaserPointerSafety.com’s original story. It includes an August 17 update about the resignation of the person who controlled the stadium suite where the laser pointer misuse originated.

US: Teen partially blinded in one eye due to laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indianapolis-area boy lost part of the central vision in his left eye, after he shined a green laser pointer into a mirror and looked into the beam. Ross Vanderpool received the laser, whose power is unknown, in the summer of 2012 from a friend who bought it in Italy. He enjoyed playing with the laser. But the morning after looking directly into the beam, he woke up with a black dot in his vision. Vanderpool told a reporter about the vision loss: “If I close my right eye and look straight, I can’t see your nose, but I can see your mouth and earrings.”

Retinal specialist Dr. Ramana Moorthy saw a “yellowish kind of spot here with yellow black flecks [that] shouldn’t be there.” She said the injury was permanent. The boy’s father said he considered the laser pointer a toy, and that he had no idea that laser light was dangerous. He said other parents should throw away their children’s pointers.

From WTHR.com. Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

Germany: 11-year-old suffers eye injury from classmates playing

An 11-year-old boy suffered “irreparable damage” from a laser pointer deliberately aimed at close range by his classmates. The children were on a Heidelberg school playground. The laser was aimed from a meter or so, first into one eye and then into the other.

Afterwards, the boy could not see clearly and had a black spot in his visual field. He kept this from his parents for about three weeks, after which the boy was seen by Professor Stefan Dithmar and Dr. Stefanie Pollithy at the University of Heidelberg Department of Ophthalmology. Their diagnosis was “acute bilateral impaired vision and central scotoma.”

A journal article in Der Ophthalmologe has more information, but the full article requires a subscription. Jochen Pernstainer, who told LaserPointerSafety.com about the case, kindly provided several details from the article:

  • The schoolyard exposure lasted several seconds
  • The laser pointer was measured at 55 milliwatts
  • The boy had impaired vision and a black spot on both eyes
  • Nine weeks after the exposure his vision got a bit better

laser injury 11-yr-old boy left eye laser injury 11-yr-old boy right eye
Fundoscopic photos of the 11-year-old boy’s left and right eyes. Larger versions can be seen
here.


Dithmar told a local newspaper that the German Product Safety Act prohibits the sale of products that might cause harm to health, but “there is little that you cannot get on the Internet.”

Press report from die Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (in German; an English Google-translated version is here). Journal article in Der Ophthalmologe, Vol. 109, No. 9 (2012), 907-910, entitled “Akute bilateral Visusminderung kit Zentralskotom bei einem 11-jährigen Jungen.” Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

US: UPDATED - Teen arrested for lasing at Cardinals baseball game

A 17-year-old fan wielding a laser pointer at a major league baseball game was identified by a manager, and was arrested on a charge of “peace disturbance at an athletic event,” a misdemeanor. The Cardinals-Giants game took place August 6 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny saw a green dot on the pitcher’s mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. He saw the teen in a luxury suite near the first base line and mouthed “I see you” to him. The boy then aimed the laser over Matheny’s head. Security followed the teen and two of his friends as they tried to ditch the laser pointer in a trash can; it was later recovered. The boy was apprehended and spent a few hours in jail. The Cardinals will also take action against the owners of the suite where the teens sat.

Police said they would seek criminal charges against the unidentified teen.

Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux said he did not see the laser light, although a teammate said he saw green light on Loux’s face.

The Cardinals’ director of security said lasing a player can be dangerous because of the possibility of blinding and because “when you go into what's been going on in the country right now, it's totally irresponsible to pretend you've got laser sights on somebody."

From KMOV, Examiner.com, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

UPDATE August 8 2012: The teen was identified as Eric Bogard, a high-school student in Ladue, “the wealthiest inner-ring suburb of St. Louis” according to the city’s Wikipedia entry. Bogard’s lawyer said the laser was never directly pointed at anyone and that Bogard was part of “kids in the box acting foolish. Acting like kids.” The lawyer said Bogard “regrets his actions.”

Bogard was originally charged with disturbing the peace at an athletic event. This carries a fine of $25 to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. On August 8, he was also charged with violating the harassment section of a 1999 ordinance regulating laser use and possession. The section states “It shall be unlawful for any person to focus, point or shine laser beam directly or indirectly on another person or animal in such a manner as to harass, annoy or injure such person or animal.” This carries a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. From Fox2Now, KSDK and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Eric Bogard laser
Eric Bogard, via Fox2Now


UPDATE 2, August 17 2012: The stadium suite was used by a Mercy Health System executive. She resigned her position after publicity about the incident, during which she was confrontational with stadium authorities. With regard to the teen, Eric Bogard, police say there is “no additional movement” in the case. From the Creve Coeur Patch.

US: Teen issued a citation for lasing Myrtle Beach officer

Raymond Andrew Delossantos, a 19-year-old from Huntington, West Virginia was cited for aiming a laser pointer at a Myrtle Beach S.C. police officer on July 31, 2012. The teen was in a car traveling on a city road. Green laser light was being aimed out of the car. The light hit the officer in the eyes. He stopped the car; Delossantos admitted aiming the laser out the window. The device, estimated to cost $50, was confiscated and Delossantos was issued a citation.

From Myrtle Beach Online

US: California pre-teen stopped from pointing laser at cars

On July 12 2012, in the San Francisco bedroom community of Tracy, California, a 12-year-old boy was aiming a laser pointer from his roof, onto passing cars. Police were called; the boy’s mother took away his pointer and told the officers it would not happen again. The boy was released to his mother’s custody.

From the Tracy Press

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: Long Island resident harassed by laser pointer

The police blotter in Northport, Long Island, NY includes an entry where a resident reported that a youth was aiming a laser pointer at his television. The report states that “The officer located the parent of the subject who was pointing the laser. The subject was warned and admonished on hers son's behavior.” The incident happened April 17 2012.

From the Northport Patch

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: 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.
.

US: Mass. teen bullied, injured with laser pointer leaves school

An Attleboro, Mass. teenager has left her high school after repeated bullying culminated in a laser pointer incident which left her with pain and blurred vision in one eye.

In early February 2012, a male student was flashing a number of students with a laser pointer. Noelle-Marie Harrington, 16, was flashed in the eye. She went to an emergency room and to an ophthalmologist for evaluation. As of early March 2012, her vision is back to normal.

The boy was suspended for two days. However, the boy’s friends bullied Harrington. She had previously been bullied in middle school, as well as in high school. Harrington’s mother said the school was unable to stop the bullying, and in early March she withdrew her daughter from Attleboro High School.

From the Sun Chronicle

US: UPDATED - Parent at HS game aims laser at opposing team; charged with disturbing the peace

A parent aimed a green laser pointer into the eyes of players on a high school hockey team, possibly helping defeat the team. The parent was made to leave and was later banned from attending future sporting events. No charges have been brought as of March 1 2012.

On February 29, a Division I girls’ hockey playoff game took place in the Boston-area town of Winthrop, Mass. Parents of the Medway-Ashland team told FOX 25 TV news that a Winthrop parent was using a laser pointer “through the game” and especially in the third period. School officials noticed the laser and escorted the parent out.

Winthrop’s athletic director said no players were hit by the laser “as far as he knew.” FOX 25 reported that the pointer did go into the eyes of players, and that a Medway-Ashland goalie reportedly had headaches after the game.

The laser could have affected the score, since Medway-Ashland had been leading early in the third period, but Winthrop came back in the final minutes to win 3-1. M-A parents wanted like the game replayed, and the coach claimed that five or six M-A players said they were distracted by the laser during the game. Winthrop’s athletic director denied that the laser had any effect on the score. The game will be reviewed but the TV news reported that “it is unlikely the outcome will be reversed.”

From FOX 25 News and Wicked Local Medway We have put up a special page here at LaserPointerSafety.com which gives additional facts and informed commentary about this case.

UPDATE, March 2 2012:
  • The superintendent of Winthrop schools wants criminal charges filed against the laser-pointing dad. The official has turned a videotape of the game over to police.
  • The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association says the game will stand. MIAA issued a letter denying an appeal by Medway-Ashland parents, based on referees saying the game was fair.
  • CBS WBZ-TV quoted Medway-Ashland goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “It’s kind of like when you look at the sun and then you look away you see that spot and you can’t see for a couple of seconds. You shake your head and try to get it out of your system and just keep focusing, but it’s difficult.” Hamer and her father said the laser directly affected her ability to defend against Winthrop’s first goal.

From FOX 25 News and CBS Boston

UPDATE 2, March 3 2012: FOX 25 is reporting that a laser pointer was used in a similar way during in a game one year ago against Winthrop. A former coach of the Wilmington High School girls’ hockey team says the 8th grade goalie complained about the laser pointer being flashed in her eyes. The coach discussed this with Winthrop’s coach, who later told him “the problem was taken care of” so no complaint was filed. It is not known if the parent ejected after the Feb. 29 2012 incident is the same person from the Wilmington game a year ago. From FOX 25 News and 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 3, March 4 2012: WHDH TV confirmed that the man ejected during the Wilmington game in 2011 was the same person who was ejected during the Medway-Ashland game. From 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 4, March 7 2012: Joseph Cordes, 42, will be arraigned on a criminal charge of disturbing the peace. He told CBS station WBZ that he “I feel like a complete jerk. It was very stupid, completely immature….” and that he had humiliated his daughter.

Joseph Cordes laser pointer hockey game
Screen capture of Joseph Cordes, from WBZ-TV


The Boston Globe quoted the father of goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “I’m not sure if disturbing the peace is quite enough, because I think this man had a malicious intent.” Phillip Hamer has not decided whether to file civil charges. He said his daughter had “momentary confusion” from the laser exposure, but is “fine now.” From the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, and CBS Boston WBZ-TV.
.

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: 21-year-old arrested for aiming a laser at an officer

A 21-year-old was arrested February 6 2012 for aiming a laser pointer at a police officer and a marked squad car in Canton, Ohio. Jeremy L. Wiser also had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a drug paraphernalia charge. He was also arrested for the outstanding warrant.

Bond was set at $240. He will appear in court on March 1.

From the Canton Daily Ledger

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: Tenn. man says laser was really LED on a taser

A 39-year-old Tennessee man was jailed for aggravated assault and for pointing a laser at a police officer in a February 4 2011 incident in Murfreesboro. A couple reported that a man was pointing a gun at them. When police responded and questioned Daniel Timothy Harrison, he pointed a taser with an attached laser at an officer, according to police accounts.

Harrison disputes the charges. Regarding the laser, he said “There wasn’t a laser attached to the taser anywhere. This is one of those tasers that has a little LED flashlight on the end of it, where you can push the button kind of like one of those key-chain LED flashlights.”

Harrison will appear before a judge in May, and is confident that “the truth will come out in the end.”

From DNJ.com

Note about whether tasers include lasers: A quick check of a feature chart at the Taser website shows that all three of their consumer models, C2, X26C and M26C include lasers which help in aiming the device. The C2 also includes one LED light for general illumination while the X26C has two LED lights.
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US: Minor laser pointer incident in Concord NH Dunkin' Donuts

A 20-year-old Concord (NH) man was arrested January 6 2012 on a bench warrant and for “conduct involving laser pointers”. Stephen C. Hall was arrested at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

From Patch.com

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: Road rage results from laser aimed into motorist's mirror

From the Carlisle, Pennsyslvania police log:

“No one was injured in a crash in the parking lot of Papa John’s on Hanover Street at 2:27 p.m. Dec. 29 [2011]. Paul B. Matter, 23, of Carlisle told police that he attempted to prevent Derek Pospisil, 30, of Carlisle from leaving the parking lot because Pospisil had been shinning a laser pointer into Matter’s mirrors while they were driving down the road earlier. Pospisil did not stop when Matter blocked his path. No one was charged because the parking lot is private property.”

Via The Sentinel

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: 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

US: Drunk arrested on Christmas Eve for lasing police car

On Christmas Eve 2011, an apparently intoxicated man repeatedly aimed a green laser pointer at a police officer sitting in his parked patrol car at the Southington (Connecticut) fire department headquarters. The officer initially thought the green light was from a traffic signal changing. He then saw a green dot on the windshield and realized it was from a laser pointer across the street. Backup was called in, and 35-year-old Kevin R. King was identified as the perpetrator.

King said he was “kidding around” while demonstrating the laser to friends. He was given a $75 ticket for shining a laser pointer to harass or alarm. A court date of January 13 was set for Bristol Superior Court.

From MyRecordJournal.com and Southington Patch

US: NY residents report red laser shined into home

The Scarsdale (New York) police department received a call from two residents reporting that a man dressed in black shined a red laser into their home. Police units investigated but could find no sign of the man or the laser pointer.

From Scarsdale Patch

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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New Zealand: 60-year-old convicted of shining laser beams at ferries

A 60-year-old New Zealand man was found guilty of four counts of being a criminal nuisance by endangering the public. Bernard Westbrook Long aimed laser beams at Interisland ferries in the Tory Channel of Cook Strait on September 22 and October 12 2007. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service.

bernard westbrook long laser
300 hours of community service for shining lasers on ferries


The judge said that while Long could have caused “significant” harm, he no longer lived in a house overlooking the channel, so “the chance of reoffending was unlikely.”

From the Marlborough Express. There are additional stories about Long’s guilty plea from the New Zealand Herald; about prosecutors being upset due to Long being given bail despite having “an arsenal” of 30 guns, also from the New Zealand Herald; and about the trial where the defense said persons other than Long were using the laser, from the Marlborough Express.

World: Hobbyist injures self with 1 watt blue laser

A laser hobbyist was injured by a 1 watt 445 nanometer (blue) laser on December 6 2011. The injury required unspecified surgery, possibly removal of intraocular blood via needle. Two days after the surgery, the hobbyist reported a blurry dark circle in his central vision. His doctor told him he would always have a small off-center blind spot, and that his brain would “auto-correct” to fill in the spot.

(UPDATE March 14 2012: The hobbyist reported “I still have the blind spot, and was effectively told by the ophthalmologist that it would probably be there the rest of my life. That doesn't bother me TOO much, since it isn't very inhibiting.”)
.Click to read more...

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: Drivers in Pa. lased by two teens

Two teenagers in a vehicle were arrested December 2 2011 for aiming a green laser pointer at cars in Myerstown, Pennsylvania (about midway between Harrisburg and Reading). Police were called to the scene by motorists; the responding state police trooper was hit in the eyes by the teens. Nicolo P. Vivona, 19, and William E. Eckart III, 18, were charged with recklessly endangering another person, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

From ABC27 and Reading Eagle

US: 90 days for Washington state man who used a blue 1 watt laser on an officer

Daniel P. McBride, 32, of Cosmopolis, Washington, was sentenced on October 24 2011 to 90 days in jail for second-degree unlawful discharge of a blue 1-watt Wicked Lasers Spyder III Arctic laser. The incident happened in January 2011 during a traffic stop in Montesano. McBride had also been charged with assaulting an officer; that charge was dropped in a plea bargain agreement.

As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that McBride continue mental therapy even after he completes his sentence.

Original story from KXRO Newsradio. Remainder of story pieced together from searching “laser” at the Daily World paid website.
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US: 12-year-old charged with assault for laser pointer attack on classmate

A 12-year-old male was charged with felonious assault, for shining a laser pointer into the eye of a 13-year-old female classmate at Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The girl did not immediately report the October 5 2011 incident, but waited until after she had pain in her eye and blurred vision. Her parents took her to the hospital and then to an eye specialist. They reported the incident to police on October 11. As of October 12, she still had blurred vision; the status of her eye is unknown.

From
Cleveland.com

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

New Zealand: Youth injury leads to calls for restrictions

An 11-year-old New Zealand boy has lost sharpness in his right eye, after playing with a 200 mW laser in his bedroom. The beam reflected from a mirror back into his eye, causing what the boy described as a “fuzzy blob”. Retinal specialist Dr. Dianne Sharp says the boy has a 1.5mm retinal scar that has “slightly compromised” his vision in the right eye by “reducing the reading level on the eye-testing chart by three print sizes.” His overall vision was not greatly affected, according to Dr. Sharp.

Dr. Sharp and the boy’s mother both called for restrictions on laser pointers in New Zealand. The boy’s laser was purchased in Thailand for $15 while on a family holiday in January 2011. The date of the laser injury is not known.Click to read more...

Sweden: 10-year-old lases security guard in eye

A 10-year-old Swedish boy aimed a green laser pointer at a security guard who was driving down the road. The guard was “momentarily stunned” and suffered tears and pain in his eye. The boy was found at a nearby apartment building. He could have faced aggravated assault charges, but no charges were brought due to his young age. The boy was handed over to social services.

The laser pointer had been bought during a trip outside of the country. Swedish law prohibits sale of pointers in stores, and their possession in a public place requires a permit.

The incident happened in Borås, at about 1 am on July 30 2011. News reports did not say if the guard was working for the apartment complex, or if he was a passerby who happened to be driving past the apartments.

From
The Local

US: Philly man, 41, arrested for aiming at police cruiser

A 41-year-old North Philadelphia man was arrested July 2 2011, after aiming a laser pointer at a passing police officer in a squad car. The officer was on a backup call in the Fairhill area when he saw a “blinding light” that “caused him to slam on the brakes.” Francisco Gonzalez-Rosado was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

From Philly.com

Greece: UK teen stabbed to death after laser pen harassment

A 19-year-old British citizen, on holiday in Greece, was stabbed and killed by a taxi driver angry after the teen and his friends aimed lasers at the driver.

Robert Sebbage and his friends had been shining lasers at taxis waiting in line outside a nightclub. The teens were rushed by two angry taxi drivers, brandishing a knife and a baseball bat. Sebbage was killed; Jordan Manson, 18, was taken to a hospital where he was operated on for stab wounds to the chest and neck. Three other teens were also taken to the hospital, with less serious injuries.

Taxi driver Stelios Morfis, 21, was charged with premeditated murder. A second driver was also arrested as an accomplice.

The stabbing happened in a resort town, Laganas, located on the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante). The Telegraph noted that “in Laganas, the antics of young British tourists on ‘non-stop party’ holiday packages have provoked growing criticism from the Greek authorities and local residents.”

From The Telegraph. Thanks to Dr. Phil Tyley, Laser Safety Advisor, Senior Scientist, QinetiQ for bringing this to our attention.

UPDATE July 18 2011: Jordan Manson’s parents describe the attack to The Mirror.

US: Arizona man arrested for aiming laser at officers' feet

A man was arrested July 3 2011 for aiming a laser pointer at the feet of six police officers in Prescott, Arizona. When confronted, the man gave his laser to an officer. The officer told the man that aiming a laser at law enforcement officers was a crime; the man replied that he did not do it intentionally. As the officer walked away, the man yelled profanities.

The case has been referred to the city prosecutor to see if charges will be brought.

From the Daily Courier

Australia: Laser aimed near Sydney police car

A 16-year-old boy was arrested by police officers in a Sydney suburb after a laser beam was aimed onto the road near their vehicle. When apprehended, the teen was holding a laser pointer, and another pointer was in his pocket. Later at the Maroubra Police Station, he told investigators that he had a third pointer at his home.

He was released without charge pending further inquiries.

From a NSW Police Force press release

US: Pointing laser at cars leads to chase, tasering

On June 2 2011, an Indiana motorist saw another driver aiming a green laser pointer at road signs and cars. He called police, who were able to locate and stop the vehicle. The driver, Jason David Clark, 32, ran and was tasered after jumping a fence. Inside the car, police found the laser pointer, suspected cocaine, and a pistol with blank cartridges.

Clark was arrested on a previous outstanding warrant, and now faces additional charges of cocaine possession and resisting arrest. It appears that no charges were brought against his laser pointing actions.

From the
Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana)

US: Motorist pulls over after laser attack

27-year-old Ryan S. McManus was charged with reckless endangerment, after repeatedly pointing a green laser at another driver, who at one point “swerved out of his lane and had to pull to the side of the road to avoid crashing.” The harassed driver followed McManus and called 911.

The incident took place in the small town of Greece, New York, in Monroe County. McManus will appear in Greece Town Court on May 25.

From the
Fairport - East Rochester Post and WHEC.com

US: $5,000 and 30 months probation for aiming at barges, planes, copter

44-year-old Todd Manz pleaded guilty on May 20 2011 to lying to FBI agents about a drunken night of aiming 50 milliwatt handheld lasers at river barges, airplanes and a police helicopter. He was fined $5,000 and received 30 months probation. He could have received up to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Manz and two others, David Erminger, 28, and Matthew Mauck, 34, were arrested July 20 2010 in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. From news reports, it appears the most serious incident involved river barges. U.S. District Court Judge Jon McCalla told Manz “You’re pointing a laser at a tugboat with 40 barges and chemicals on it and you could sink the tow. You could kill people, take out the bridge... [The tugboat captains] thought they were being targeted by someone with a high-powered rifle.”

Erminger and Mauck have not yet been sentenced on charges of crimes of violence against maritime navigation and sabotage of aircraft. Government prosecutors will be recommending diversion, a more mild form of probation.

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal

UPDATE: On June 22 2011, Erminger and Mauck were placed on one-year diversion. The criminal charges against them will be erased as long as they stay out of trouble (no new charges) during the next year. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Australia: Man charged with selling, possessing laser pointers

A 29-year-old resident of Broken Hill, New South Wales, was arrested April 7 2011 after police found three laser pointers in a desk drawer in his home. He was charged with three counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, one count of advertising a prohibited weapon without stating that a permit was required, and one count of selling a prohibited weapon to an unauthorized buyer.

Police said that last December the man advertised a laser pointer for sale online, and sold it to a Sydney buyer in January. Inquiries then led to the April 7 arrest.

From the
Cowra Community News

US: Motorist chased, arrested after lasing other cars

San Antonio police arrested a man who had been illuminating drivers with a laser pointer on March 15 2011.

The man was signaled to pull over by a plainclothes officer. He sped up instead and led the officer on a short chase through downtown. He was charged with drug possession and aggravated assault of a public servant.

From
KENS 5 TV

US: Laser illumination sends officer to hospital

A 53-year-old man was arrested March 18 2011 after shining a laser at an officer who was driving a patrol car. The officer “was taken to a hospital to be treated for temporary blindness”, according to police in Gilroy, California.

Guy Bassett aimed the laser out of his trailer at the Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, and with pointing a laser at an officer. He was also arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of battery.

From the Gilroy Patch and KRON-TV

US: Ohio man harasses radio station with green pointer

A 37-year-old man was charged with inducing panic and aggravated trespassing, after being caught on Feb. 21 2011 aiming a green laser pointer at the windows of radio stations WTAM-AM and WMMS-FM near Cleveland Ohio. He had also aimed at the stations’ windows two weeks earlier but was not caught on that date.

In addition to the laser harassment, the man also had “littered the entrance” to the stations with pornographic photos on Feb. 8

From
Cleveland.com

UK: 3 arrested for aiming laser at -- ducks?

Three fishermen were arrested March 7 2009 in Reading, West Berkshire, for having laser pointers while night fishing. The men said they used the pens to frighten ducks away from their hooks. Police said they were arrested on suspicion of endangering aircraft a few weeks earlier. The men had fingerprints and DNA samples taken. One was released after two hours, the other two men were held at the station for ten hours. No charges were brought against the men.Click to read more...

Germany: Man charged with aiming at cars on highway

On March 2 2011, a 33-year-old man from Marienborn was arrested for aiming a laser pointer at passing cars on the A60 motorway. A patrol car was hit and was able to determine the man’s location. According to a machine translation, “...the man had felt in the anonymity of the skyscrapers seem fully secure. He stated that he wanted to reduce his aggression in this way.” (“...der Mann in der Anonymität der Hochhäuser scheinbar völlig sicher gefühlt. Er gab an, dass er auf diese Weise seine Aggressionen abbauen wollte.”)

He told interrogators that others “have often been blinded in the same way.”

From
Allgemeine Zeitung

Australia: NSW man arrested for possession after traffic incident

A New South Wales man was charged with “possessing a laser pointer in a public place.” The incident started when police were called by motorists in Kempsey reporting laser lights. The area was searched; a 19-year-old man was found with a laser pointer, and was arrested. A court date of March 7 2011 was set.

From a
New South Wales police force press release

Canada: Conviction in assault over laser pointer annoyance

On April 13, 2007, three moviegoers were “beaten and stabbed after they asked a group of males to stop disrupting a film with a laser pointer.” On Feb. 5 2011, one of the males was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm, and common assault. This follows a March 2010 guilty finding for another attacker.

A previous News item described the attack in more detail.

From the
Ottawa Citizen

US: Laser pointer used against cars

Three men were arrested for shining a green laser pointer at motorists on the New York State Thruway, in Brutus (Cayuga County, NY). The men were in a truck and were arrested at a rest stop after “troopers received reports from other motorists.”

The men were charged with disorderly conduct.

From the
Syracuse Post-Standard

US: 3 years in prison for injuring deputy

An Oregon man, Anton Strom, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for causing permanent retinal scarring of a sheriff’s deputy’s left eye on July 17 2010. Strom aimed a “powerful, industrial grade” green laser pointer 423 feet across a parking lot at Deputy Glenn Howard, who now has a stronger corrective lens prescription in his left eye, and “his doctor said his vision may deteriorate further.”

Strom was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. He pled guilty to one second-degree assault count, as part of a plea bargain reducing his sentence from the minimum six years, to three years.

Howard testified that during the incident he feared for his life since lasers are often used on weapons. He “pulled his duty weapon and prepared to return fire.”

From OregonLive.com. Thanks to Daniel Hewett of the FDA for bringing this to our attention.

Netherlands: Eye injury leads to assault charge

(English translation of Dutch original)

EDE -Tuesday A 16-year-old student from Ede is arrested for assault by the police in his hometown. The boy would have shined a laser pointer in the face of a person working at his school and caused eye damage.

The 61-year-old victim was forced doctor's treatment because of injury. The police was warned by the school, and the 16-year-old Edenaar was arrested . The boy confessed and after hearing he was transferred to his parents pending a decision of justice.

The laser pen was confiscated.

Dutch original story from EdeStad.nl, Sept. 29 2010
Thanks to Maurice Wortel for bringing this to our attention.

Netherlands: Bus driver injured; 14-year-old arrested

(English translation of Dutch original)

On Sunday [Nov 21 2010] the police in Den Bosch arrested a 14-year-old boy who probably shone with a laser pen from his parental home, into the eyes of a bus driver.

The 46-year-old driver got a eye damage and had to stop the bus. The victim was treated in hospital. It is still unclear whether the injury is permanent.

A police spokeswoman has reported Monday. In the bedroom officers found the boy had approximately one hundred blanks [bullet blank rounds, which are illegal in Netherlands]. The boy was sent home after interrogation.

Dutch original story from De Telegraaf Binnenland, Nov. 22 2010
Thanks to Maurice Wortel for bringing this to our attention.

Switzerland: Boy injures self with 150 mW pointer

A 15-year-old Swiss boy severely damaged his vision after aiming the beam from a 150 mW green laser pointer at a mirror, and then reflecting it into his eyes multiple times to “create a ‘laser show’”. He suffered immediate blurred vision.

An examination two weeks later showed injuries to both retinas. There was severe vision loss in the left eye and 20/50 vision in the right. His left eye was injected with ranibizumab which helped improve vision to 20/25 after four weeks. The right eye improved on its own to 20/32.


The left eye clearly shows damage from a self-inflicted exposure to a 150 mW green laser pointer.

The report appeared in a letter published September 9 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

UK doctors: Laser pointer damages youth's eyes

A British teenager suffered burns and retinal damage, according to doctors writing in the June 8 2010 British Medical Journal. The youth aimed a “high powered” green diode laser pointer into his own eyes. Both eyes were damaged with 20/35 vision, although six months later vision had returned to 20/20.


The burn site on the youth’s right eye

Click to read more...

Thailand: Protester killed after aiming laser pointer at troops

An anti-government protester in Bangkok was shot and killed after shining a laser pointer at government troops. An eyewitness said “The man was two yards in front of me and took out a laser pointer and started beaming it at the soldiers. I thought it was a crazy thing to do, then he was hit. I felt debris, bits of him hitting me. He went down straight away. There was a bullet exit wound at the back of his head.”

From The Daily Mail online. Caution: graphic photograph of the dead protester.

========


Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: The soldier(s) most likely fired either due to the laser pointer provocation, or due to fearing that a weapon with a laser gunsight was being used. The laser pointer light could not harm the troops except possibly at close range if shone into the eyes. Of course, in a protest/street battle situation, soldiers are not going to know or care about the eye safety characteristics of laser pointers.

This is reminiscent of a
2005 case in Florida, where a man aimed a laser pointer at deputies and was shot and killed. It is unfortunate but understandable that those with weapons who are having a laser aimed at them may “shoot first and ask questions later.”

Canada: Man stabbed trying to stop laser pointer at movie

22-year-old Zachary Ebel described in court how he was punched and stabbed at an Ottawa cinema, after complaining about a laser pointer being used to disrupt the movie. The attack took place April 13, 2007.

Ebel said his attackers were part of the same group of young men who had been disrupting the movie which he and his friends had gone to see. One member of the group had been waving a laser pointer at the screen, Ebel said.

“I asked them ‘who has the laser pointer, come on guys,’” said Ebel. “It was at that point someone stood up and asked me if I had a problem. I said, just stop using the laser pointer’ and walked back to my seat.”

After the movie, one of the group asked him to go outside. When Ebel refused, somewhere between 6 and 15 young men began punching him. He was stabbed three times after tackling two of six men who were kicking his best friend as he lay curled in the fetal position on the floor.

From the Ottawa Citizen

UK: Youths sentenced for train attack

20-year-old Philip Pearse was sentenced to six months in a young offenders' institute, and an unnamed 16-year-old was made to serve 140 hours of community punishment, after shining red lasers at trains as they pulled into Newport station in South Wales. They were convicted on two charges of endangering the safety of railway passengers.

Drivers Michael Jonah and Timothy Reiffer suffered temporary blindness, but managed to bring their trains safely to a halt.

Cardiff Crown Court was told that the safety of hundreds of commuters was jeopardised and the cost of the disruption was put at £13,000.Click to read more...

US: Police shoot man aiming laser gunsight at them

In Reno, Nevada, police officers shot and critically injured a man who aimed a replica pistol's laser beam at them.

Officers responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun. They ordered 44-year-old Charles James Bishop to drop the realistic-looking pistol. When he raised it towards them and the laser moved towards the officers, they fired.

More details from RGJ.com

US: Boy charged for shining laser at drivers

A Lake Forest Road boy faces charges for shining a green laser beam at motorists, including a Bay Village patrol officer. [Bay Village is in Ohio, 15 miles west of Cleveland.]

A motorist first called police at 9:40 p.m. Feb. 7, saying he had just seen a green laser beam in his car. He waited for police and pointed to the house where the light had come from. Officers talked to the home owner, who said his sons had a green laser. The boys denied shining the light at traffic. Police told the brothers not to shine the light at cars and searched their bedroom, but didn't find the laser.

About 7:30 p.m. the following evening, an officer on routine patrol was blinded by a green laser beam coming from a passing car. The patrolman stopped the car. It held one of the boys who has been warned the day before. The boy denied having the laser, but it was eventually turned over to police. Charges are pending, Chief David Wright said in a news release.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

US: Arrest, jail for pointing laser at deputy

A 19-year-old was arrested and jailed for shining a laser pointer at a sheriff’s deputy.

On January 1 2009, a Hornbrook, California homeowner called the sheriff’s office about a man on the homeowner’s porch. “When deputies arrived and began to question Jonathan Lee Huellett, he allegedly pulled out a laser pointer and began shining it in the deputy’s face and on his chest. Huellett was arrested on suspicion of using the laser pointer on the deputy.” He spent the night in jail. He was released, but on January 3 was arrested again for resisting and obstructing a peace officer. [It is unclear from the story if this resulted from a separate incident, or was a charge from the original laser pointer incident.]

Four days later, when the news story was published, he remained in jail.

From the Redding (CA) Record Searchlight online, at www.redding.com

US: Florida man aims laser at deputies, is shot dead

A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who had been pointing a laser at a group of deputies early this morning [Feb. 4 2005], WTSP-10 News reports. Thomas Setzer, 24, was said to have aimed the laser from the second floor of an apartment building. The shooting occurred as the deputies went to the apartment to investigate.

Concerned they were being targeted by a laser-sighted weapon, a deputy trained a spotlight on a second-floor window at the adjacent Boardwalk Apartments, and the laser stopped. Then the beam appeared again, this time focusing on the deputies' bodies and tracking them as they walked.

Deputies drove to the apartments to investigate. Within minutes, the man they say pointed the laser was dead.
Click to read more...