A Schertz man admitted in federal court on Wednesday that he aimed a laser pointer at a San Antonio Police Department helicopter flying overhead, according to a U.S. Department of Justice written statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Justin John Shorey, 37, pleaded guilty to the charge of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft before U. S. Magistrate Judge Richard B. Farrer, the statement read. He remained in custody as of Wednesday and faces punishment of up to five years in federal prison, it read.
“According to the factual basis filed in this case, to which Shorey admitted in court, on Feb. 17, 2019, Shorey knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft and the flight path thereof,” according to the news statement. “The aircraft, a San Antonio Police Department helicopter, was assisting in the search of a shooting suspect while orbiting just north of Highway 90 West. When the laser beam made contact with the helicopter, it hit the pilot in the eyes affecting his ability to see and read his gauges.”
The pilot and tactical officer aboard the helicopter searched for the person who aimed the laser, it said. Shorey acknowledged aiming the laser at the helicopter once as it approached his location in the 2100 block of Hays Street in San Antonio and twice as it circled above him.
The pilot safely landed at the San Antonio International Airport. His injury from the laser kept him grounded for a week, read the statement from the offices of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
FBI special agents and members of the San Antonio Police Department investigated the case that led to Shorey’s indictment. Along with time in prison, the charge carries a possible fine of up to $250,000.
If someone is aiming a laser pointer at any aircraft, individuals can call 9-1-1 or submit tips to tips.fbi.gov. The San Antonio FBI office also can be contacted at 210-225-6741 for any laser incidents.