A Florida man is facing multiple charges after shining a laser pointer at an aircraft landing at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, injuring a pilot and attempting to strike an officer with a hammer.

A 41-year-old man named Charlie James Chapman Jr. was arrested Wednesday after allegedly being caught on camera aiming a laser pointer towards a fixed wing plane four times, according to a statement from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

When a sheriff’s helicopter tried to locate the man, he also allegedly shined the laser at it, according to the statement. 


After authorities did reach Chapman, he reportedly “grabbed a hammer and made a striking motion towards the deputies.” The deputies deployed a taser on him, and Chapman was taken to an area hospital, later being released and taken to the Manatee County jail.

The sheriff’s department shared video of the apprehension to its official YouTube page.

A laser pointer was found in Chapman’s pocket, the sheriff’s department said in the statement.

One of the pilots of the plane said the laser hit him directly in the eye, “causing temporary blindness,” the sheriff’s department said. The pilot said he still felt his eye was blurry from the laser, although it was not clear whether the blurriness is permanent. 

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