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

February 16, 2011 |  2:12 pm

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.


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