ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A security guard was arrested in Orange County after deputies said he pointed a laser at the cockpit of their sheriff's helicopter.
The helicopter was flying over an Apopka apartment complex well before sunrise Wednesday when the cockpit suddenly filled with light.
"Immediately they detected they'd been targeted with a green laser light," said Commander Bill Armstrong with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Someone on the ground pointed a laser into the helicopter's cockpit as it hovered 800 feet above the ground, forcing the pilot to turn quickly away, deputies said.
"It's an abrupt maneuver. Any time we make an abrupt maneuver like that at night it's very hazardous," said Armstrong.
Sheriff's deputies were at Marden Meadows Apartments looking for a stolen vehicle suspect when they had to turn their attention to finding the person who shined the laser.
Deputies searched the courtyard, where they found security guard William Leverance.
According to deputies, when Leverance was asked him to clean out his pockets they found a laser.
Deputies questioned Leverance and according to arrest papers he told them he did not shine the laser into the chopper.
Leverance, 28, was arrested.
An apartment resident told WFTV reporter Ryan Hughes that they have seen Leverance point lasers and lights into apartments.
"Yeah, he did it in people's windows a lot," said resident Omar Alvira.
Investigators said Leverance is charged with misusing a laser, but could be in more trouble. The incident is also punishable in federal court.
Leverance has bonded out of jail.