Man Arrested for Aiming Laser at Coast Guard Helicopter During Training Mission

Philip Gagnon, 59, was arrested for allegedly aiming a high-powered laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter during a training mission in Boston. He faces up to 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
Man Arrested for Aiming Laser at Coast Guard Helicopter During Training Mission

Man Arrested for Aiming Laser at Coast Guard Helicopter During Training Mission

A 59-year-old man, arrested, aiming, high, powered, coast, guard, Philip Gagnon, was arrested on September 21, 2023, for allegedly aiming a high-powered laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter during a training mission at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. The incident forced the pilot to abort the landing, and the helicopter, with four crew members on board, had to fly north for several miles before landing at another Boston area hospital.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the potential risks and consequences of reckless behavior, particularly when it involves interfering with emergency and military aircraft operations. It also underscores the importance of taking such incidents seriously and holding individuals accountable to ensure public safety and national security.

Gagnon faces one count of aiming a laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter, which carries a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted. The United States Coast Guard Investigative Service Northeast Field Office led the investigation into the incident, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason A. Casey of the National Security Unit is prosecuting the case in federal court in Boston.

The Coast Guard helicopter involved in the incident, identified as Helicopter 6039, had four crew members on board at the time. Gagnon allegedly aimed a high-powered green laser beam at the helicopter from his apartment. Following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston, Gagnon was released on conditions.

The arrest of Philip Gagnon for allegedly aiming a laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter during a training mission at MGH on September 21, 2023, underscores the seriousness of such actions and the potential consequences for those involved. The incident not only jeopardized the safety of the helicopter crew but also disrupted an important training exercise. As the case proceeds through the federal court system, it serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting the safety and operations of emergency and military aircraft.

Key Takeaways

  • 59-year-old Philip Gagnon arrested for aiming laser pointer at Coast Guard helicopter.
  • Incident occurred during training mission at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
  • Helicopter with 4 crew members on board forced to abort landing and divert.
  • Gagnon faces up to 5 years in prison, 3 years supervised release, and $250,000 fine.
  • Incident highlights risks of reckless behavior and importance of public safety.