PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Two pilots with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office were flying above a barricaded suspect call Tuesday night when nearby something else happened.
A man on the ground in Port Richey shined a red laser at them.
“Blinded us temporarily for a couple seconds. Extremely painful. Once we came too, we saw a couple more flashes from the laser,” said pilot Stephen Bowman.
In the chopper video, pilots say they counted 10 laser flashes in all.
Fom the sky they were able to locate the guy doing it. They could even see him going to the mailbox at one point. With no deputies on the ground available, they made the decision to go get him.
They landed the chopper in a parking lot and Deputy Bowman walked about a quarter mile, found Ryan Fluke at his home and arrested him for a felony.
“He said that it was for fun. He said that he didn’t realize that a laser can travel a long distance, even though we were only about 800 feet away from him.”
It’s not just the lasers the pilots say they’ve been dodging plenty of drones lately too. They are all dangers they don’t need when they are trying to help deputies on the ground.
“At night, low and making turns and you get struck by a laser, a couple seconds you can fall a couple hundred feet. Much closer to the ground. So it gets extremely dangerous quickly.”
Deputies say Fluke denied it was him, until deputies showed him the video.
They said he’s been arrest 12 times before, but never on a charge like this.