Lawrenceville man charged with pointing laser at police helicopter

A Lawrenceville man is in custody facing charges of pointing a laser at a police helicopter.

Officials with the Gwinnett County Police Department said their air unit was conducting training exercises with the SWAT team at the Gwinnett Police Training Center when a green laser hit the cockpit of the aircraft. 

Police released this video showing a green laser being pointed at the department's helicopter

Police released this video showing a green laser being pointed at the department's helicopter (Gwinnett County Police Department)

The incident of the laser strike was captured on video.

Police pilot Markus Lapitsky was manning the controls during a training exercise with the SWAT team when he noticed the green nuisance.

"Your heart sinks a little bit because it’s not expected. You are doing your scans and you start second guessing and thinking," Markus Lapitsky said.

Lapitsky said it’s no laughing matter.

"First and foremost, after it hits the windscreen, it hits the cockpit, and it blinds us, and now I can’t see the gauges or instruments," Lapitsky said.

Thanks to technology those in the sky can track where the laser’s coming from.

"I just followed the green laser and followed it back to where the subject was holding it and I got an address," Lapitsky said.

Nedzad Mehic (Gwinnett County Police Department)

The helicopter's crew pinpointed the source of the laser and sent police to investigate. Eventually, officers arrested 30-year-old Nedzad Mehic and charged him with pointing a laser at an aircraft.

"I didn’t think the laser would hit the helicopter. I was doing it for fun. I didn’t think the laser would go far," Nedzad Mehic said.

FOX 5 spoke with Mehic who says he never intended to cause harm and was just having fun with his family. He said he would never have pointed the laser if he knew it would have reached into the cockpit.

"Pointing a laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous because it can hinder the pilot’s ability to handle the aircraft as well as interfering with onboard equipment," Gwinnett police said in a statement. "This activity is illegal due to the potential harm it can do to the pilots, the aircraft, and the general public."

The Gwinnett County Police Department's helicopter

The Gwinnett County Police Department's helicopter (FOX 5)

Mehic was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail.

His case has been referred to the FAA and the FBI Atlanta office.

Gwinnett County Police said they arrest at least four people a year in laser strikes.

"We all have families and we want to go home at the end of the day. Essentially for a toy that you can buy for 15 to 20 dollars on amazon that can put such great risk not just for us police pilots but all the aviators," Lapitsky said.