A man arrested after police allege he pointed a laser at multiple aircraft attempting to land and take off from LaGuardia Airport, leaving three pilots with eye injuries, says he didn't direct the beam.
Frank Egan, 36, told NBC 4 New York Tuesday he was sleeping.
Authorities allege Egan pointed a laser from his apartment on Coddington Avenue in the Schuylerville section of the Bronx.
Three pilots on two separate aircraft, including two police officers investigating the laser beams, sustained eye injuries, according to police.
The two injured officers say they were looking for the source of the laser beams when one was pointed directly into their cockpit. For a split second, they said, everything turned green.
"[It] actually blinded us for a split second," said Officer Royston Charles.
Still, they were able to located the Bronx apartment where they say the laser beams were coming from.
The officers were treated and released in stable conditions. The other pilot of an Air Canada commercial airliner, was taken to a hospital in Toronto for treatment.
Officials say they were initially alerted by the Federal Aviation Administration that someone had been pointing lasers at aircraft in that area, and the NYPD’s aviation unit spotted Egan pointing the laser from his apartment. Officers went to the suspect’s apartment to investigate and the suspect’s mother invited them inside the apartment.
There, officers found a device labeled “Laser 303” on top of the refrigerator, police said. After being questioned, Egan admitted to using the laser pointer and he was taken into custody, police said.
Egan was charged with assault on a police officer, felony assault, menacing a police officer, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. His bail was set at $50,000 bond or $5,000 cash.
The FAA says laser beams are an ongoing problem at area airports, with 41 incidents reported at LaGuardia last year alone.
"It's very dangerous, because you can't see," said Detective Richard Mardarello, one of the injured officers. "You can't see other aircraft, you can't see where you're going."
-Lori Bordonaro contributed to this report