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22-year-old charged after allegedly pointing laser at Air & Marines Operations chopper during Detroit protest

Posted at 10:07 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 22:35:48-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A man from Canada was busted for allegedly endangering lives during the George Floyd protests in Detroit.

Federal agents say owning a laser like this isn’t illegal, but shining it into the cockpit of an aircraft is a federal crime. In this case, it was caught on camera.

Someone shined a laser directly at the cockpit of a customs and border protection, Air & Marine Operations chopper. Patrolling against any possible danger during protests. The pilot immediately notifies Canadian law enforcement after seeing the laser come from across the border.

“They were being menacing," said Phil Petro, an Air Interdiction agent. "They knew what they were doing doing adjusting their laser and aiming to strike the aircraft repeatedly.”

Petro knows what it takes to fly critical missions, and says his team was hovering over thousands of people to keep everyone safe.

Just after 10 p.m., they sent info to Windsor police and helped track down a 22-year-old man believed to be responsible. Windsor police say Ali Zuhair faces charges of mischief, failure to comply with a release order and breaking probation. Petro says he also tried sneaking away.

“When it appeared police we’re pursuing on foot they stopped temporarily, started running to evade capture. They knew they were committing a crime,” Petro said.

Police say Zuhair was already wanted for outstanding warrants. They credir their partnership with U.S. agencies for putting a stop to his illegal use of a laser before anyone above or down below got hurt.

In the U.S., aiming a laser at an aircraft can get you as much as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.