Manatee County deputies arrest man for pointing laser at pilots

Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man for pointing a laser at planes trying to land at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

Deputies say, Charlie Chapman Jr., 42, shined the laser pointer on a fixed-wing plane four times and one time at the MCSO helicopter.

One of the pilots of the plane advised that the laser hit him directly in the eyes, causing temporary blindness.

Passengers were shocked to learn Chapman shined the laser at a plane four times as they attempted to land.

“Why!? What would cause you to do that? It’s pretty dumb I think, in my opinion,” Mike Chack said. “I’d be pretty ticked off. I mean, you expect to get there safely, and then someone is trying to alter that.”

When deputies attempted to take Chapman into custody he grabbed a hammer and made a striking motion towards deputies.

Deputies located a laser pointer in Chapman’s pocket. He is charged with aggravated assault on an officer, point laser at pilot w/ injury, point laser at pilot without injury, and resisting without violence

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