A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: 4 years in jail + 3 more years probation for Houston man

Brian Aldana, 20
Houston, Texas, US


On June 23 2018, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents were flying an Airbus AS350 B3 helicopter on routine law enforcement patrol. At approximately 9:00 p.m., they were headed in the northwest direction along highway US-290 when agents observed a flash of green light coming from the left side of the aircraft. At the time, they were at approximately 1000 feet elevation and traveling at a speed of 70-80 knots.

The pilot reversed the aircraft back to the southeast direction and was illuminated again by the green laser, which was powerful enough to light up the entire cockpit. The light caused a glare in the pilot’s eyes and obstructed his vision, forcing him to turn his head and maneuver the Airbus away from it. The pilot also had to close and shield his eyes from the flashing green laser inside the cockpit.

The investigation led to the source of the light at a business near the intersection of Hollister and Pitner Roads in Houston. With the help of the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the store’s security cameras, Brian Aldana was soon identified.

Video recordings show Aldana aiming a green laser up in the sky several times and a green laser pointer at the helicopter while sitting in a chair next to a silver sedan. He was also seen placing the green laser device through the opening of the silver sedan window on to the backseat.

Officers seized the laser and submitted it to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist to be examined. The scientist concluded the laser pointer is a Class IIIB laser system and produced a “laser beam” which could result in serious and possibly permanent retinal damage.

In April 2019, Aldana pleaded guilty to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He faced up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

On July 22 2019, Aldana was sentenced to 48 months in prison, and will have an additional three years of supervised release after he is released from prison.

From a LaserPointerSafety.com story and update.

US: $500 fine for fan who pointed laser at QB Tom Brady

Dwyan Morgan, 64
Lee's Summit, Missouri, US




On January 20 2019 in Kansas City, National Football League quarterback Tom Brady was targeted by a green laser beam during an NFL playoff game between Brady's New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. The beam hit Brady at least three times during the game. It did not seem to be noticed by or to bother Brady, who went on to win the January 20 game as well as the NFL Super Bowl two weeks later.

On February 3 2019, Kansas City Chiefs officials said they had identified the person holding the laser, and had banned him for life from the Chief's stadium.

On April 11 2019, Dwyan Morgan was publicly named as the person who attacked Tom Brady with a laser. He was cited for a misdemeanor, one count of disturbing the peace. This carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Subsequent news stories indicated Morgan had no remorse, that he "still hates the Pats and Tom Brady…." In mid-May 2019 on the syndicated TV show Inside Edition, Morgan and his son appeared to be lighthearted about the incident. He said he did not intend to injure Brady; that he was intoxicated and wanted to distract the quarterback. He said "I shouldn't have done it" but also said he would not apologize to Brady or the Patriots football team.

On July 17 2019 Morgan pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He was fined $500. He was not given any jail time.

From a LaserPointerSafety.com story and update.


UK: 9 months in jail for 50-year-old Leeds man who aimed at police helicopter

David Gill, 50
Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK


On March 9 2019, a West Yorkshire Police helicopter was searching for a car that had eluded a police stop, when it was repeatedly illuminated by green laser light. The search was abandoned so the helicopter could locate the laser suspect.

Ground units arrested David Gill, 50, of Leeds.

At trial he pleaded not guilty, but was convicted by a jury of endangering the safety of an aircraft. He was sentenced May 12 2019 to nine months in prison.

From the Daily Mail

US: 30 days in jail, one year probation for Ohio man who aimed at airplane, helicopter

Eugene L. Robinson, 37
Columbus, Ohio, US




On July 19 2018, Robinson aimed a green laser pointer at a police helicopter, then at a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 carrying 61 passengers. He also aimed at police helicopters sent to check the reports of laser illumination. He was charged with four counts of interfering with the operation of an aircraft.

On May 1 2019, Robinson pleaded guilty to one charge of interfering with the Southwest flight, a felony. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, one year of probation, and community service by appearing in a public service announcement about the danger to passengers and penalties for persons aiming lasers at aircraft.

Robinson said it was “a boneheaded mistake ... I didn’t know how far it would go, didn’t even think it would go as far as it did ... I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.”

US: 21 months in jail for Florida man who aimed laser at police helicopter

Ryan Fluke, 28
Port Richey, Florida, US


Ryan Fluke laser squashed80pct

On December 5 2017, a Pasco (Florida) County Sheriff's Office helicopter was illuminated about 10 times by laser light from the ground. The helicopter pilot landed in an empty parking lot, walked to the suspect's home, and detained Ryan Fluke.

Fluke told the pilot he aimed the laser for fun, and did not realize the laser beam could travel a long distance.

Fluke had 12 previous arrests in Pasco County. He was charged with misuse of laser lighting devices, a third degree felony.

He pleaded guilty November 20 2018 to aiming a laser at an aircraft and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, in March 2019.

UK: Six months jail for aiming green laser at police helicopter

Voyslav Dimitrov, 29
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK

On September 15 2018, a police helicopter searching for suspects was illuminated three times, for 3-5 seconds each, by a green laser beam. The pilot broke off the search and flew evasively to avoid the light.

Deputies on the ground arrested Dimitrov.

He pleaded guilty on January 29 2019. His lawyer claimed Dimitrov thought he was aiming at a drone.

At sentencing on February 18 2019, the judge said the incident could have ended in a "fatal and catastrophic" outcome. He gave Dimitrov a six month jail sentence, out of a potential maximum five years under the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act.

From BBC England News. Original LaserPointerSafety.com story here.

New Zealand: 51 months in jail for aiming a laser into officers' eyes plus other charges

Niki John Gamble-Mackesy, 23
New Zealand (no city given)


On June 3 2018, Niki John Gable-Macksey, 23, aimed a laser pointer at police officers who were conducting a bail check. He 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.

On February 5 2018 Gamble-Mackesy was sentenced in Hamilton District Court 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