A Fresno man faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for an alleged laser pointer attack on a Fresno Police helicopter late last month. Investigators say 32-year old Vincent Alvarez pointed the laser into the cockpit of the helicopter as he drove on Highway 99 back on October 22nd. The helicopter was on it's way to assist with air support at a domestic violence call, and when the beam hit the cockpit it caused visual interference that interrupted the operations of the helicopter. The helicopter was able to track the vehicle that the laser strike came from, and Fresno Police ground units gave pursuit.
Alvarez allegedly drove through the streets of Fresno at a high rate of speed before crashing into the center divider at First Street and Floradora Avenue. Alvarez allegedly tried to escape into the yard of a neighboring home, but was quickly taken into custody. Police say a green laser device used in the attack was found inside a pocket on the driver side of his vehicle. They say the device had "danger" warning on it.
The investigation was handled by the Fresno Police Department and the FBI.
A federal grand jury handed down the indictment against Alvarez. No trial date has been set.