MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ) — A potentially deadly prank. A teenager is accused of pointing a laser at a Maryland State Police helicopter, putting the pilot in danger.

Weijia Jiang explains this is just one incident that’s part of a disturbing trend.

A state police helicopter was on a search mission in Middle River when something blasted the chopper.

“Initially, we thought it was lightning,” said Maryland State Police medic TFC Joshua Heins.

In an instant, Heins and the pilot became victims to a green laser pointer. Police say a 14-year-old was shining it from half a mile away on the 2200-block of Southorn Road. The crew flew straight there and beamed right back.

“We hovered right over the house, kept the night sun right over the front porch. Within minutes, police officers were there,” Heins said.

In fact, six minutes after he sent the laser at the plane, the teenager was in handcuffs. State police say it’s their sixth case this year. The light can blind the pilots for several moments.

“It’s pretty scary that anything can crash at any time and hurt people,” said Corey Lacey, the next door neighbor.

When WJZ filed a special report about the alarming trend, we found the number of aircrafts targeted by lasers doubled in the past year to 2,800—the highest level ever.

We also took you inside a Southwest flight on its final approach to BWI. Thirteen hundred people were on board. This is the air traffic control recording from that night:

“Tower, Southwest 512. Just off my left side right now, about a quarter-mile, a green laser.”

When the laser strikes the chopper, the beam breaks up into several lines. It’s so powerful, it lights up the entire cockpit.

“Now you’ve got a danger flashing right in front of your face when you’re doing another mission,” Heins said.

Police say that’s why catching those behind the laser is critical, so they won’t strike again.

“Pointing this at an aircraft is not a video game. It affects people’s lives,” said Maryland State Police Aviation Command Lt. Walter Kerr.

Police say the teenager is back in his parents’ custody, waiting to learn what the penalties will be.

Comments (20)
  1. JC Lewis says:

    Fly safe friends.

  2. Sylvan Finkelstein says:


    1. G modlin says:

      How true that is. Georgeanna

  3. Mike says:

    If the parents allow their juveniles the ability to break the law…..than put the parents in jail for their children’s illegal behavior.
    I bet that would change the way the kids are raised.

  4. still white still care says:

    who bought the laser? then gave it to a irresponsible 14 year old!

    1. pigeon says:

      This things are readily available to the general public. There’s no age limit as there are with cigs and booze. Kid probably got it at a local general store.

  5. pigeon says:

    There have been numerous programs regarding the misuse of these lasers. What the individual did was just plain stupid and I’m sure a hard lesson was learned. Since they (lasers) are so dangerous then take them off the market. Oh that’s right, the state would lose a lot of revenue from the sales tax – to heck with the pilots, EMTs, officers, and general public who are put at risk and in harm’s way. The parents are not always at fault. Be it known that we really do NOT have eyes in the back of our heads; therefore, we don’t see/know all (but don’t tell our kids that).

  6. Wllharrington says:

    e should not be given bail. I am not sure of the technical term for what he did but I would callit attempted murde with premeditation. Out of jail he is still a danger.

  7. ladyluck says:

    Attempted Murder with Premdeitation? Are you serious?? Kids so a lot worse each and every day and they have to learn and sometimes learn the hard way. Parents can only do so much to teach their children. I have a 15 yr old who has always been taught right from wrong, is a good kid, great student, polite etc but he is still a kid, thus prone to stupid mistakes. Remember your childhood and the dumb things you did? Surprised we all survived to be adults.

    1. Mike says:

      We as teens did not have the technology of today. The worst was getting cigarettes and booze. Too much free time and video games for youngsters now. They all live in a vid-reality world. Sad

  8. Johnny Boy says:

    How many people can they cram on a Southwest plane now?

    “Thirteen hundred people were on board.”

  9. tylerjake says:

    The parents should be in jail as well. There’s too many worthless parents now and then people wonder why the children are they way they are. Most awful parents now blame anything but themselves for their child’s behavior.

  10. Disappointed Again says:

    As is usually the case, we have digressed from commenting on the story, to attacking each other personally.

    So, a reader has poor grammar skills. This is hardly worth mention, since the topic at hand is “Lazers and their affect on Aircraft.”

    It is interesting, that we are appalled when a “child” (attacks others) with a lazer, yet we can’t even type a comment without attacking others, ourselves.

    Our children learn from what they see. If you want a better world,with better children; take the initative to “better yourself”.

  11. sheriff says:

    Dundalk, Not exactly the mecca for higher learning & intelligence. Home to thousands of illegitimate 14 yr olds courtesy of walking, talking sperm banks.

  12. i hate idiots says:

    Thats what his dumba$$ gets

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