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Video shows arrest of man who was pointing a laser toward multiple aircraft at Florida airport

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Tiffini Theisen
Orlando Sentinel

Deputies used a Taser to subdue a man who swung a hammer toward them after he pointed a laser at aircraft at Sarasota Bradenton Airport on Wednesday night, authorities said.

Charlie James Chapman Jr., 41, shot his laser pointer toward a fixed wing plane four times and toward a sheriff’s helicopter once, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

One pilot said the laser hit him directly in the eyes, causing temporary blindness and lingering blurred vision.

Chapman made a “striking motion” toward deputies with a hammer after they arrived to investigate and found him on a forklift, the sheriff’s office said.

Video from a sheriff’s helicopter also shows a man appearing to throw objects at the aircraft.

Chapman was charged with aggravated assault on an officer, pointing a laser at a pilot with injury, pointing a laser at a pilot without injury and resisting without violence.

The incident was reported at about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.

The affected aircraft were making their approach to land when the pilots reported the laser strikes.

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