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Laser pointed at Dulles flight

Loudoun County sheriff's officials are investigating a report of a laser light being shined into the cockpit of an inbound flight to Dulles International Airport, and believe a teenager is responsible, authorities said.

It was the latest of several recent instances of laser-pointing at aircraft, including planes and helicopters. It is a crime in Virginia to interfere with the operation of an aircraft,and aviation officials believe it endangers lives.

The crew of the Dulles-bound flight reported that the laser was seen at about 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department. A 15-year-old Leesburg boy was identified being involved in the incident, said Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The plane was approaching the airport over the intersection of Routes 7 and 28 in Sterling, Troxell said. The Sheriff's office received similar reports on Aug. 27, he said, when lasers were pointed at another plane as well as vehicles driving in the Lansdowne area. Investigators identified several juveniles who were involved with the Aug. 27 incident, Troxell said.

"During this latest incident, a deputy hearing the call knew about the incidents and located a juvenile who was responsible," Troxell said. The deputy apprehended the teenager at his home, where the laser was recovered.

The case is pending, and it is unknown whether the teenager was acting alone or with other juveniles on Wednesday, Troxell said.

Fairfax police also have charged several people with pointing lasers at aircraft. There was 20 such incidents in Virginia last year and 14 in Maryland.

-- Caitlin Gibson

By Washington Post editors  |  September 3, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Loudoun  
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At 15 these kids should know what they did is wrong and potentially life threatining. I don't think they should do any jail time, but ought to be made to do community service.

Posted by: gladiatorgal | September 3, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

At 15 years old you'd think this kid would have something/anything better to do.
Play sports, chase girls, read a book, watch a movie, clean your room, volunteer somewhere...pointing a laser pointer at a commercial aircraft is REALLY far down the list.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

NAW! Not Virginia, the Commonwealth. Is this becoming another SE, but w/white kids? Never thought they would be in the news.

Posted by: KKKsAtItAgain | September 3, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The aviation industry needs to figure out how to engineer a windshield that will filter out the laser light, if it that dangerous. Too many people have lasers, and don't realize the potential legal danger they can be in, by carelessly handling a laser pen.

Posted by: sherberg | September 3, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if some people paid attention in science class, they'd understand the gravity of the situation. Instead, the educators seem to be focused on the defitinition and history of the "tasteless" verbage of, "What is a w.u.s.s," or "What is a b.a.s.t.a.r.d."?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 3, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

So that's why I heard Allahu Ackbar and saw a green laser shoot in the sky when I was at the Exxon gas station off 606.

They've ditched the bomb vests, they are now using lasers. All planes should now have mirror coating on the outsides.

Posted by: bradmoser | September 6, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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