L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Long Beach woman arrested for allegedly shining laser pointer at law enforcement helicopters

Police said Wednesday they arrested a Long Beach woman for allegedly shining a laser pointer at two law enforcement helicopters in midair.

Kelly Ann Smith, 34, of Long Beach was arrested Feb. 5 for allegedly shining the light at Long Beach police and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department helicopters Jan. 29 during an intensive police search for suspects who shot at two Long Beach gang detectives.

As the Long Beach helicopter aided in the search, pilots reported someone was pointing a beam in the cockpit. When the helicopter had to break to refuel, the Sheriff's Department helicopter, which sometimes provides assistance for crucial incidents, temporarily took over the air search and was also targeted by the light, police said.

When the LBPD helicopter returned to the scene, the laser light resumed, making it impossible for the pilots to continue their search much longer, police said.

Officers on the ground immediately responded to the location where the light originated and made contact with Kelly, who was identified and released. A laser pointer was recovered, and officers returned to their search.

Officers returned Feb. 5 to arrest Smith, who was booked at Long Beach Jail and released the next day on $20,000 bail, police said. She did not enter a plea during her Monday arraignment, according to court records.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 1 at Superior Court in Long Beach.

Police said they hoped the arrest would send a message that this type of offense would be punished harshly. A 14-year-old boy was arrested Feb. 8 in South Los Angeles for allegedly shining a laser pointer at a Boeing 737 landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

RELATED:

14-year-old boy arrested for allegedly pointing laser at plane at LAX 

Man gets 15 months in federal prison for aiming laser pointer at CHP helicopter

LAX reported highest number of incidents involving laser beams pointed at aircraft

-- Nate Jackson

 
Comments () | Archives (14)

If these lasers can cause so much trouble, why are they legal to own?

These choppers were probably circling over her house for hours, she was probably ticked off. Some people at a Costa Mesa meeting where they cut their helicopter program referred to them as "ghetto birds" and "more of a nuisance than a necessity." In the SFV they seem to be cruising the skies all night, they come and go constantly, especially the past few weeks. If you don't hear one overhead now, just wait a few minutes. While typing this comment I've heard one or two somewhere nearby. Rediculous. How much money are they waisting by flying 24 hour a day? Crime in my area is not that bad. Everybody should get one of these lasers.

This woman should be put in jail for several years and it should be heavily publicized, perhaps weekly, for a very long time.

What an Idiot!!

BFD - nothing happened. Not one single case has ever been reported of someone shining a laser into the eyes of a pilot and causing a distraction that has lead to 1) any kind of physical harm to the pilot or 2) any kind of harm/damage to the aircraft or its passengers.

This is all a bunch of bravado that reporters love to report on, and pilots/cops love to say is such a danger.

Someone please show me one example of anything bad happening from someone shining a laser pointer at an aircraft - even "the pilot was temporarily distracted" - because so far there have been nothing except the perception of how dangerous this is, and that doesn't constitute an arrest or $20,000 bail. What it does constitute is a waste of taxpayer dollars to pay for officers to track down the person who was shining the laser while real criminals committed real crimes.

Lets see if the same justice is applied to MR Smith form Long Beach as to the 14 from South Los Angeles.

Perviouse comments suggested the book be thrown at the 14yr old.

Blinding a pilot or possibly bringing down an aircraft is not a trivial matter. These incidents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I thought that only a child would do something so stupid.

"If these lasers can cause so much trouble, why are they legal to own?"

I would guess for the same reason kitchen knives are legal although they are periodically used for stabbings and street robberies. Although these activities are anti-social and dangerous, I still enjoy the ease of cutting food as opposed to tearing. The laser pointers have been used for years during PowerPoint presentations without injury and I would hope this crucial visual aid is not legislated out of the workplace. The added pleasure of shining it on the foreheads of sleeping coworkers is no longer a privilege, it is a right.

@Kitty

Same argument can be made for guns and so many other items

People just need to show some common sense and proper judgment and they will stay out of trouble

First of all thanks for not posting my other two posts that I left yesterday for this article that dispute the legitimacy of the police departments claims.

Secondly, why not take the time to actually investigate if shining a laser at an aircraft at such a long distance can "blind" a pilot. There are plenty of laser experts that can show you all the data you want that disproves this - that the type and power required to generate a light strong enough to even temporarily blind a person at that distance is something you can't just buy off the shelf - not even from Russia, or something you can modify.

So if there is a device that the general public uses without incident and some idiots choose to use it in a harmful way, then we make it illegal. That is stupid.

Knives are used by us all, they are very useful, even obligatory in the kitchen or in the field. Yet many people get injured and even killed by knives everyday, so your solution is make knives illegal?

Who needs the government telling me I cannot have a laser, knife or a gun or anything else and have it legally? Punish the abusers and leave the rest of us alone.

If only we could point a laser for everytime a cop has pointed a gun at a civilian....we would ALL be blind!

@westsidejesse


civilian?


oh you must mean criminal


stop breaking the law and you won't have to worry about it...like the rest of us REAL civilians

seems the cops never point guns at me or anyone I know

must be different for you...hmmm I wonder why?


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: