2:26pm | A 34-year old Long Beach woman has been arrested for pointing lasers at Police and Sheriff helicopters while they conducted a search for suspects in an unrelated incident in January. Kelly Ann Smith has been charged with two felony counts of discharging a laser at an aircraft.
A Long Beach Police Helicopters was peforming an intensive search for suspects in the January 29 shooting of two gang detectives that resulted in one of the officers being injured and rushed to the hospital, when they reported that a laser beam had been shined into the cockpit of the aircraft.
A Sheriff's Department helicopter took over the search as the LBPD chopper refueled, and reported the same thing. According to a police press release, the laser was "making it impossible for the pilots to continue their assistance in the search much longer. By blinding the operators of aircraft, the act of pointing a laser at an aircraft not only endangers it occupants, but also the community below, putting many lives at risk."
Officers on the ground identified the location where the laser originated, questioned a resident inside, recovered a laser beam device and released the resident to continue searching for the shooting suspects. They returned to the home on February 5 to arrest Smith.
Police arrested two 19-year old suspects in the gang detective shooting a few days later and both have been formally charged with attempted murder.
Operators of aircraft traveling over Long Beach can report incidents to police by calling 9-1-1. Anyone with any information regarding this particular case, or other suspects who may be engaging in this activity is asked to report it to the Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and may also report anonymous tips via text or e-mail, at longbeach.gov/police.