The Tampa Police Department had two separate laser incidents this past weekend which affected both Law Enforcement helicopter pilots and commercial aviation pilots.
Arrests were made in both cases.
On 9-17-2021 at 10:08 p.m., Tampa Police Helicopter pilots were flying over the I-4 / I-275 interchange, when they were targeted by a green laser. They quickly changed their flight path to protect their vision. The laser was coming from the downtown area.
Officers aimed the camera to the location where they believed the laser was coming from and within seconds, they were again targeted with the green laser. The pilots notified Tampa Air Traffic Control tower, Tampa PD Dispatch, and officers on the ground. The subject holding the laser targeted the helicopter several times, for several seconds each time, which made it difficult to maintain normal flight attitude.
The suspect was sitting in Curtis Hixon Park (600 Ashley Dr) next to another subject. Pilots could clearly see the suspect, identified as Gerald Perez D.O..B - 03/29/2000, was the only one who targeted them with the laser.
Perez continued to point the laser at the helicopter as ground units worked to locate him. Perez was located and taken into custody. #21-397396
On 9-18-2021 around 10 p.m., Tampa Air Traffic Control tower advised all aircraft in the area to beware of someone pointing a laser. Air traffic control advised a Cessna that flew over the airport, had just been targeted by a green laser. Air traffic control directed LEO helicopter pilots to the area and within minutes, they were targeted by a green laser from a residential neighborhood.
Officers captured the incident on camera and began recording. They zoomed in the camera and were able to pinpoint which house the laser came from. Officers saw a subject in front of the house, sometimes standing, and sometimes sitting on a chair, just outside the garage. The subject, later identified as Dhaneshwar Sahadeo D.O.B. - 05/21/1988, pointed the laser at the helicopter several times.
Officers directed Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office patrol units to the house on 6807 Burke St. Deputies made contact Sahadeo and took him into custody. #21-398880
Both cases remain under investigation.