SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 44-year-old South Bay man was behind bars Thursday for allegedly shining a laser pointer at an airborne police helicopter, a felonious act that can temporarily blind a pilot.
Patrick John Keohane II of Chula Vista was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at a friend's home in the 2400 block of A Avenue in National City, according to police.
Minutes earlier, someone point a laser beam at a San Diego police helicopter as the aircraft passed over the neighborhood, NCPD Sgt. Mike Harlan said.
The copter crew reported the assault, then directed officers to the approximate area where it had occurred, the sergeant said.
The patrol personnel arrived to find Keohane loitering with Michael Wayne Babbitt, 38, in Babbitt's yard. Witnesses identified Keohane as the one who pointed the light at the helicopter, and officers found a small laser "pen" while searching him, according to Harlan.
Keohane was arrested and booked on suspicion of discharging a laser at an occupied aircraft, a felony. He was being held on $25,000 bail pending an arraignment hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Babbitt was jailed on an outstanding narcotics-related warrant.
Keohane's alleged offense is a serious one due to its potential to cause a pilot to lose control of an aircraft due to compromised eyesight, Harlan noted.
"They might think it's funny, but there's a reason it's a felony," he said.
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