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Turlock resident charged with aiming laser beam at emergency helicopters
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A Turlock man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations he aimed a laser pointer at two helicopters responding to emergency situations.

Roger Shane John, 31, of Turlock, was charged with two counts of aiming the beam of a laser pointer at two helicopters, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to court documents, on the evening of Oct. 22, John allegedly struck a Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, Air 101, five to six times with a powerful green laser, causing visual interference and disrupting an air support response to a domestic violence call.

Around the same time, and in the general vicinity of the strikes to Air 101, John struck CalStar 12, an emergency medical helicopter, three to four times.

Both aircraft were flying in close proximity to the Modesto Airport at the time of the laser strikes. The laser strikes occurred within the FAA-designated laser-free zone, which encompasses all flight operations at 2,000 feet and below.

If convicted, John faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, and Modesto Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.