Police and state briefs for Jan. 2, 2012


Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 10:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 10:24 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Laser pointer use gets man arrested

A 36-year-old man rang in 2012 at the Alachua County jail after he was arrested for allegedly shining a laser pointer at a police helicopter from a New Year’s Eve party in northwest Gainesville.

Gainesville Police Lt. Jorge Campos said the helicopter the agency shares with the Sheriff’s Office had been in the air for only a few minutes when a green laser started following it near the intersection of Northwest 13th Street and 53rd Avenue.

Officers on the ground traced the laser back to a house on the 4900 block of Northwest 20th Drive, where fireworks were being set off at a party.

Campos said the suspect, Jordan Johnston, said he was only trying to shine the laser through the smoke left by the fireworks, but officers disputed that.

“It wasn’t by happenstance,” Campos said. “It continually followed it through the flight path.”

Johnston was charged with misuse of a laser lighting device, a third-degree felony.

— Chad Smith

Police are investigating New Year’s Eve stabbing

Police on Sunday were investigating a New Year’s Eve stabbing that sent a man to the hospital with potentially fatal injuries, though few details were available Sunday.

Gainesville Police Lt. Jorge Campos said the man was stabbed Saturday evening in what might have been a domestic dispute.

He likely would have died had he not gotten to a hospital quickly.

“They rushed him to surgery and he survived,” Campos said.

It wasn’t immediately clear where in the city the man was stabbed, though Campos said investigators might have found the location Sunday night.

— Chad Smith

State

Boy, 12, wounded from celebratory gunfire

RUSKIN — Authorities said celebratory gunfire falling from the sky critically injured a 12-year-old Tampa Bay-area boy.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the boy’s family was sitting outside their Ruskin home around 1 a.m. Sunday and watching fireworks.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon said the boy’s mother saw him fall to the ground, bleeding from his nose and eyes. She drove him to a hospital, where doctors determined he had suffered a gunshot wound from a bullet that entered the top of his head.

McKinnon said the boy remains hospitalized in Tampa in critical condition with the bullet still in his head. Detectives said no one nearby had been firing a gun.

— The Associated Press

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