Home

Thermal teen pleads not guilty to pointing laser at sheriff's helicopter

INDIO, Calif. -

An 18-year-old Thermal man suspected of pointing a hand-held laser at the cockpit of a sheriff's helicopter in Coachella pleaded not guilty to a felony charge today.

Christian Torres Padilla, who is charged with one count of willfully and maliciously discharging a laser at an aircraft, is free on a $25,000 bond. He is due back at the Larson Justice Center on April 24 for a felony settlement conference, according to court records.

On Feb. 14, a Riverside County Sheriff's Department helicopter was assisting the Indio Police Department on a call when someone aimed a hand-held laser at the cockpit about 7 p.m. as the craft flew over Harrison Street and Avenue 53 in Coachella, sheriff's Sgt. Randy Wedertz said.

The crew directed officers on the ground to Padilla, who allegedly had a hand-held laser in his possession, Wedertz said. Pointing a laser at an aircraft can temporarily blind the pilot and distract the crew, he said.

Authorities didn't say why Padilla may have pointed the laser at the chopper.


comments powered by Disqus