OC Man to Plead Guilty to Pointing Laser at Sheriff’s Helicopter

LOS ANGELES—A previously convicted 47-year-old Santa Ana man is expected to plead guilty today to aiming a laser at an Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter pilot. Eric Suarez admitted in his plea agreement that on April 13, 2020, he was sitting alone in his parked car when he “intentionally pointed a high-intensity green laser beam” at the helicopter, striking the cockpit at least four times with the beam. The beam blinded the pilot and tactical flight officer for several seconds, impacting their ability to see the ground and detect hazards. Lasers are dangerous to point at aircraft because it can blind the pilot and cause a crash. Shortly before law enforcement stopped Suarez’s car, the defendant threw his laser pointer out of the window, but officers quickly located the device, according to the document filed in Los Angeles federal court. More than five years earlier, in 2015, Suarez was convicted …

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