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Louisville man sentenced for aiming laser pointer at LMPD helicopter during protests

LMPD's helicopter flew over the scene Wednesday afternoon. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LMPD's helicopter flew over the scene Wednesday afternoon. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 8:52 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Department of Justice announced a Louisville man has been sentenced for aiming a laser pointer at a Louisville Metro Police helicopter in September.

Manuel Martin Salazar-Leija, Jr., 26, was charged with aiming a laser at an aircraft, which is a federal offense. He was sentenced last week to 2 years of probation, including 8 months of home incarceration for the offense.

Court documents show that Salazar-Leija aimed the beam of a laser pointer at the helicopter on September 25 during protests in the city. The helicopter was performing surveillance of a vehicle involved with a burglary.

FBI agents found the source of the beam coming from a home on East Kentucky Street. When Salazar-Leija was interviewed by federal agents, he told them he was trying to disrupt the helicopter because he believed they were surveilling protests.

In addition to the probation and home incarceration, Salazar-Leija was ordered by US District Court Judge David Hale to pay a $2500 fine and the costs of home incarceration.

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