LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 57-year-old man who flew his drone into the orbit of a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter has been charged, City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office said on Tuesday.
Martin Sheldon was charged with two counts of obstructing a peace officer in the lawful performance of his duties, according to Feuer’s office.
“Using a drone to interfere with a police investigation places our officers and the public at serious risk,” Feuer said. “My office will hold those who recklessly operate these devices accountable for their actions.”
Sheldon is accused of flying his drone towards an LAPD helicopter just before midnight on Aug. 27, as it searched for an assault suspect in Hollywood.
As a result of the alleged drone interference, the helicopter was forced to break off its search for the suspect on the ground.
“Our pilot looked up and saw two red lights coming at him,” said LAPD Capt. Al Lopez. “The pilot had to stress the machine to lower it. It placed out pilot in immediate danger.”
According to police, officers were able to track the drone back to a nearby parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, where Sheldon is accused of operating the device.
He was detained at the scene and the drone was confiscated.
Meanwhile, video footage revealed the drone flew towards the police helicopter, its spotlight and numerous police units below.
Sheldon is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 26.
If convicted, he could face up to one year in jail and pay $1,000 in fines.