A California man who lasered a police helicopter in 2017 has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and three years of probation. Roger Shane John, 34, of Turlock, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd after pleading guilty to purposely striking a Stanislaus County sheriff’s helicopter five or six times with an 85 milliwatt green laser that is 17 times more powerful than legally allowed for handheld consumer devices and strong enough to cause eye injury, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
John admitted to striking a CalStar emergency medical helicopter three or four times during the same evening. The strikes impacted the pilot and tactical flight officer aboard the sheriff’s helicopter and caused them to abort their response to a domestic violence call. John admitted guilt in the plea and said that he knew his conduct was illegal, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The events occurred on Oct. 22, 2017, near the Modesto City-County Airport and were investigated by the FBI, Stanislaus County sheriff, and Modesto police department. John could have received up to five years’ incarceration and a $250,000 fine.