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Laser Incidents

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  • 8 months later...

Arrest made in helicopter laser attacks




Durham Regional Police has arrested a Clarington man in connection with three separate nighttime laser attacks on a police helicopter based out of Oshawa.


The arrest, believed to be the first of its kind in the GTA, comes as high-powered laser attacks on passenger jets and medical helicopters flying into GTA airspace are on the rise.


Durham police arrested a 25-year-old man Wednesday evening after their police helicopter – known as Air1 – was hit by a laser beam on a routine patrol over the area.


That helicopter reported similar incidents while flying over the same area on the evenings of Nov. 10 and Nov. 25. On those two occasions, the pilot had to take evasive action to avoid the laser strikes.


Following the Wednesday night attack, ground units working in conjunction with Air1 were able to locate the origin of the beam.


Gerald Cote has been charged with three counts each of projection of directed bright light at an aircraft, engaging in behaviour that endangers the safety of an aircraft in flight, obstructing police officers and mischief. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.


Last year, David Mackow of Calgary became the first person in Canada convicted of shining a laser at an aircraft. He was fined $1,000 for mischief.



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