Dallas Man in Federal Custody for Aiming a Laser Pointer at Aircraft
DALLAS — Kenneth Santodomingo, aka “Juan Joel Pagan,” 22, has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. It is anticipated that he will make his first appearance in federal court in Dallas this afternoon at 2:00 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the complaint filed late yesterday in federal court in Dallas, at approximately 4:08 a.m. yesterday morning, January 28, 2013, uniformed Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers were operating a DPD helicopter, flying over the area of 8000 Umphress in Dallas, when the cockpit was illuminated, approximately four times, by a laser pointer. The intensity of the light obscured the vision of the pilot and impaired the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft.
The DPD officers in the helicopter pinpointed the location in Dallas where the laser originated and directed officers on the ground to a residence at 7719 Lake June Road, where the laser light originated from the back yard. Santodomingo answered the officers’ knock at the front door of the residence. Officers explained that an individual was observed illuminating the DPD helicopter with a laser pointer from the back yard and was then seen running into the house through the back door. After officers informed Santodomingo that the incident had been recorded, he admitted pointing the green laser light at the helicopter to see how far it would go. The officers obtained the laser pointer from Santodomingo.
The complaint further notes that the video taken by the DPD helicopter showed that the individual using the laser in the backyard fit the description of Santodomingo and appeared to wear the same short style underwear at the time of the offense that Sandodomingo was wearing when talking with officers.
A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The maximum penalty for the offense charged, however, is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the DPD and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller is in charge of the prosecution.
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