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Man sentenced in CHP aircraft laser shooting

October 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Cathedral City man was sentenced to 15 months in prison for shooting a laser at a California Highway Patrol helicopter aiding a burglary call.In June 2009, CHP officers in a helicopter were assisting Cathedral City investigators in a possible residential burglary. While in the air, the cockpit of the helicopter was suddenly lit up with a bright green light, which caused the officers to look away and alter their course.

The helicopter crew tracked the source of the light to a vehicle, which they followed. Ground patrol stopped the car and found 19-year-old Nathan Wells in possession of a laser device.

Wells was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips. The judge also ordered Wells to be on supervised release for three years in addition to the prison sentence. During his term of supervised release, Wells must spend three months at a community corrections center.

Wells pleaded guilty to a felony count of interference with an operator of an aircraft, admitting that he knowingly fired a laser at a police helicopter.


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