MENIFEE – A Menifee man suspected of flashing a laser into the cockpit of a Riverside County sheriff’s helicopter -temporarily blinding the crew – as well as targeting other aircraft, was arrested today.
George Kevin Tucker, 56, was booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of shooting a laser at an aircraft, a felony allegation. He’s being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Carroll, the first alleged laser assault occurred on May 2, after which “there were additional aircraft laser strikes” impacting aerial operations.
During the May 2 laser flash, Tucker aimed a colored light into the helicopter as the crew was conducting surveillance shortly before midnight near the intersection of Murrieta Road and Sun City Boulevard in Menifee, Carroll alleged.
He said the pilot managed to maintain control of the chopper despite the blinding light.
Investigators were able to gather sufficient evidence in the ensuing months to connect the suspect to the assault, culminating in a search warrant being served at Tucker’s home on Interlechen Drive, where “several laser devices” were seized, according to Carroll.
Tucker has no prior documented felony convictions in Riverside County.