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St. Charles County man faces up to 5 years in prison after allegedly pointing laser at police helicopter

In 2022, there were more than 9,000 laser strikes reported to the FAA.
Credit: burdun - stock.adobe.com

ST. LOUIS — A Lake St. Louis man was arrested Wednesday and appeared in court for the first time since being indicted for allegedly pointing a laser at a police helicopter in February. He pleaded not guilty. 

According to a press release from the Office of the United States Eastern District of Missouri, David Gammil, 44, was indicted on March 8 on one count of pointing a laser at a Metro Air Support helicopter in the St. Louis area. According to his indictment, the incident happened on Feb. 23. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, aiming a laser at an aircraft is deemed a federal offense and is considered threatening to flight security. 

“Intentionally aiming lasers at aircrafts poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law,” according to the FAA.”Many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.”

As of Feb. 16, there have been five reported laser incidents in Missouri including three incidents in Kansas City, one in Springfield, and one in St. Charles, according to the latest reports from the FAA. 

Last year, there were more than 9,000 laser strikes reported to the FAA. This number of laser strikes is lower than in 2021 but dramatically higher than between 2016-2020. Dozens of these incidents resulted in reported injuries. 

He faces up to five years in prison and more than $200,000 in fines.

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