SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 22-year-old 4S Ranch man faces possible felony charges for allegedly endangering a law enforcement helicopter crew by shining a laser at the aircraft as it flew above his home late at night, a sheriff's official reported Wednesday.
The two deputies were patrolling over the neighborhood near Rancho Bernardo when the intense light began flashing on and around the chopper about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. Todd Richardson said.
Fortunately, the laser beam did not directly hit the windows of the helicopter, according to Richardson.
"This type of incident can fully incapacitate an aircraft flight crew, causing permanent injury to the pilots and loss of control of the aircraft," he said.
The deputies notified the Poway Sheriff's Station, which sent patrol cars to the location from which the laser had emanated.
The sheriff's flight crew directed the ground units to a home in the 16000 block of Dove Canyon Road, where they contacted a man who matched the description of the person the airborne deputies had seen shining the light into the air.
Deputies questioned the man and forwarded their findings this morning to the District Attorney's Office, which will likely file criminal charges in the case, Richardson said.
The lieutenant declined to release the name of the suspect because he had not yet been arrested.
Shining lasers at aircraft is a highly hazardous act that has caused air crashes and ended the flying careers of pilots due to eye damage, according to Richardson. The crime has become increasingly common in recent years, he said.
"It's an epidemic across the country. ... I don't think (perpetrators) appreciate the severity of how dangerous it is," the lieutenant said. "It's no different than if you shoot at us. It's that serious."
An early morning vegetation and trash fire at a homeless encampment threatened nearby condos and resulted in at least one injury Sunday.
A major construction project at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry was completed ahead of schedule early Monday morning.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials are increasing staffing levels in anticipation of increased fire activity.
More than 200 surfers paddled out for a daunting day-long challenge Saturday inspired by young men in the community facing a far bigger one.
It was a hopping good time in Balboa Park on Sunday at the 8th annual Bunnyfest. Hundreds joined the San Diego House Rabbit Society for a big playdate that's all for a good cause. The money raised Sunday will go towards helping the rabbit society find loving homes for their adoptable bunnies.
The city's search for the next top cop is underway as police chief Shelly Zimmerman prepares to step down in March.
A semi-truck ran over a fire hydrant Saturday afternoon in Grant Hill causing a huge geyser to spray into the air. Luckily, firefighters were just minutes away at a community event and were able to put a stop to the water quickly.