Man Denies Pointing Laser That Hurt Pilots’ Eyes

BRONX (AP) -

A Bronx man “vehemently denies” pointing a laser that injured the eyes of several pilots, including two in a police helicopter, according to his lawyer.

The New York Police Department said in a statement that Frank Egan “admitted to officers” that he owned the laser and used it on Monday night. But attorney Francis J. O’Reilly said Egan, who appeared Tuesday in Bronx Criminal Court, was sleeping at the time of the incident and was not home alone.

The Federal Aviation Administration had alerted the police to a laser beam flashing across the cockpits of several commercial jetliners at LaGuardia Airport. Police spotted a laser coming from a Bronx apartment about eight miles away. They knocked on the door, were invited inside by a woman and saw a device on top of the refrigerator labeled “Laser 303” and “Danger.”

Noisy planes fly so low over the neighborhood that pedestrians can see the landing gear and make out the carrier’s name. A neighborhood resident, Rob Lenhard, said he could understand why someone would resort to laser pointing.

“Honestly, I’ve gotten drunk a couple times and thought about doing it myself,” said Lenhard, who added that he does not own a laser.