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Man charged with aiming laser pointer at SDPD helicopter during protest

SDPD police car
Posted at 4:00 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 19:00:17-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A Lemon Grove man was charged Wednesday with aiming a laser pointer at a San Diego Police helicopter as a demonstration moved through Hillcrest last weekend.

Rudy Alvarez, 24, was charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft hovering over the protest on June 6, according to the Department of Justice.

A federal complaint alleges Alvarez shined a laser at the SDPD aircraft at about 8:30 p.m. in the area of the 500 block of University Ave. During that time, a large demonstration was moving through the area, investigators added.

Alvarez was located multiple times over the next hour in the crowd, before police identified him on G St. just before 10 p.m. and arrested him without incident.

Detectives say they found a high-powered gray metal laser pointer in his front left pant pocket.

"Aiming a laser pointer at or near an aircraft could cause distraction or blindness to a pilot and the consequences could be devastating," said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. "We support the Constitutional rights of free speech and assembly, but it is our duty to protect the public and law enforcement from danger."

Alvarez's bond was set at $5,000 and his next hearing was set for June 23.