Officials: Man hit police helicopter with laser pointer


Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.

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 a 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.

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