Turlock man gets 2 years for striking Sheriff’s helicopter with powerful laser

Laser Strike

FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A Turlock man was sentenced to two years and three months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for purposefully striking a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s helicopter with the beam from a powerful laser, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said Monday.

Roger Shane John, 34, pleaded guilty to pointing a powerful green laser, causing visual interference of both the pilot and tactical flight officer and disrupting an air support response to a domestic violence call on Oct. 22, 2017, according to court documents.

Scott said the laser strikes occurred within the Federal Aviation Administration‑designated laser-free zone of the Modesto Airport.

According to the guilty plea, John knew that shining a laser at an aircraft is illegal. An examination of John’s laser revealed that it emitted 85 milliwatts (mW) of power and is 17 times more powerful than what is legally permissible for handheld laser devices. 

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