Police speak out about teen charged with pointing laser at aircraft

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is responding to a teen being charged with flashing a pointer at a police helicopter. It happened Tuesday night. Fortunately no one was hurt. Officers say it could have been worse.

"As police officers," Officer Eric Kelly said. "When you see a laser, we are thinking laser, not necessarily a laser pointer but a laser on a weapon."

Eighteen-year-old Smith Hayden Brundage is charged with two counts of flashing a laser at police aircraft. Police say this is the first time someone accused of that crime in Charlotte has been caught. After the incident, police pilots followed the suspect to his neighborhood then landed the aircraft.

"It shook him up pretty good." Brundage Attorney Joe Ledford said.

Brundage appeared in court Thursday. He left the courthouse not saying a word. The suspect's lawyer told WBTV it happened while his client and his friends were fishing.

"He had a laser pointer," the lawyer said. "And he was playing with it and he wanted to see a helicopter come by and he wanted to see if it could reach the helicopter and it did and since then it has been a wake-up experience for him. He had no idea the problem this created."

Police want a lesson to be learned.

"He says he is remorseful," Kelly said. "And that's fine, but he should take this and take it to the next level and make sure that other people his age are aware that there are consequences to your actions, regardless of what your intent is. There are laws out there and you are held responsible."

This crime is a felony. No decision if law enforcement will file federal charges.

If found guilty the teenager could face five to 20 months in prison for each count.

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