Coast Guard
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Boston Man Arrested for Aiming High-Powered Laser Pointer at Coast Guard Helicopter

A Boston man was arrested Monday for allegedly aiming a high-powered laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter that was attempting to land at Massachusetts General Hospital during a training mission.  

Philip Gagnon, 59, was arrested and indicted on one count of aiming a laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter. He was released on conditions following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston earlier today.

 According to the indictment, on the evening of Sept. 21, 2023, Coast Guard helicopter 6039 was attempting to land at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as part of a routine training mission with four crew members on board. It is alleged that, as the helicopter descended towards MGH, Gagnon knowingly aimed a high-powered green laser beam at the helicopter from inside his apartment. The laser beam allegedly illuminated the side of the helicopter and shone through the helicopter’s windows. In response, the pilot aborted the MGH landing and flew north for several miles, eventually landing at another Boston area hospital.

The charge of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Steven Firth, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service Northeast Field Office made the announcement today. Assistance U.S. Attorney Jason A. Casey of the National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.




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