LBPD arrests woman for discharging laser at aircraft; DA charges her with two felony counts

On Saturday, Feb. 5, at approximately 9:11pm, officers from the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) arrested a suspect in the 1500 block of East 7th Street for discharging a laser the week prior at the LBPD helicopter and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department helicopter.
On the evening of Saturday, Jan. 29, an intensive investigation was underway in the area of the arrest, where just a few blocks away two on-duty Long Beach Police gang detectives were fired upon by an unknown number of suspects in a vehicle. Police officers immediately conducted an extensive search for multiple armed and dangerous suspects throughout the neighborhood.
As the police helicopter aided in the search of this densely populated area, the officers inside it reported that someone was pointing a laser beam into the cockpit. When the helicopter had to break to refuel, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) helicopter, which sometimes provides mutual assistance in critical incidents, temporarily took over air search and was also targeted by the laser.
When LBPD Air Support returned to the scene, the laser resumed, making it impossible for the pilots to continue their assistance in the search much longer. By blinding the operators of aircraft, the act of pointing a laser at an aircraft not only endangers its occupants, but also the community below, putting many lives at risk.
Officers on the ground immediately responded to the location from where the light originated and made contact with the resident inside who was identified and released. A laser beam was recovered, and officers returned to their search to locate the suspects who had fired on the detectives earlier.
When officers returned to the residence on February 5, 2011, they arrested 34-year-old Long Beach resident Kelly Ann Smith. On Monday, Feb. 14, the District Attorney charged her with two felony counts of discharging a laser at an aircraft. 
Operators of aircraft traveling over Long Beach can report incidents to police by calling 9-1-1. Anyone with any information regarding this particular case, or other suspects who may be engaging in this activity, is asked to report it to the Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250. Tipsters may remain anonymous and report tips via text or email at longbeach.gov/police or tipsoft.com.

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