An Oklahoma City man has been charged with a felony in federal court in connection with pointing a laser beam at a police helicopter, the U.S. attorney reports.
Derrick M. Sullivent, 20, was charged Thursday, reports Sanford C Coats, U.S. attorney for the western district of Oklahoma.
Police said Sullivent pointed the laser beam at the Oklahoma City police helicopter in June.
“Lasers can distract, temporarily blind, or even completely incapacitate pilots, putting them and any passengers on board in grave danger. Pointing a laser at an aircraft is both a criminal act and a serious public safety concern,” Coats stated in a news release.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, states, “Lasers pose a real and perceived threat to our police pilots.”
“State and Federal laws have been enacted to protect our officers from these threats. Individuals who choose to target our pilots with lasers, for any reason, need to know that law enforcement will investigate and seek prosecution of any violator,” Citty states in the release.
The charge alleges that on two separate occasions, once on June 10 and again on June 11, Sullivent pointed a green laser beam at the Oklahoma City Police Department helicopter while it was flying in the area of 1616 SW 86 in Oklahoma City. If convicted, Sullivent could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.