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Florida man accused of pointing lasers at landing planes, injuring a pilot

NBC News logo NBC News 1/25/2020 Nicole Acevedo
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A man in Florida is facing multiple charges after allegedly pointing a laser at planes trying to land at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, injuring a pilot.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office said Charlie Chapman Jr., 41, was arrested on Wednesday after he was caught on camera aiming a laser pointer toward planes four times.

When a sheriff's helicopter tried to locate Chapman, he pointed a laser at them.

When authorities made contact with Chapman, "he grabbed a hammer and made a striking motion towards the deputies," prompting officers to deploy a taser on him.

a man looking at the camera: Charlie James Chapman Jr. © Manatee Sheriff Charlie James Chapman Jr.

Chapman was taken to a hospital. He was later released and taken to jail, the sheriff's office said.

Officers said they found a laser pointer in Chapman's right pants pocket when they arrested him.

One pilot said the laser hit him directly in the eyes, causing temporary blindness and lingering blurred vision, authorities said.

Chapman is charged with aggravated assault on an officer, pointing a laser at a pilot with injury, pointing a laser at a pilot without injury and resisting without violence, according to the sheriff's office.

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