A family friend has claimed responsibility for pointing a laser at multiple aircraft near LaGuardia Airport, injuring several pilots' eyes, in a surprising turn during a hearing for the Bronx man arrested for the crime earlier this week.
The drama unfolded during a procedural hearing Friday for Frank Egan, who was arrested for allegedly using the laser Monday night from his home in Schuylerville.
Police had said Egan admitted using the laser; Egan denied it, telling NBC 4 New York he had been asleep at the time authorities say it was directed toward the aircraft.
Elehecer Balaguer, who lives with Egan, came to court with him Friday and backed up Egan's statement. Balaguer said he was the one who pointed the laser pointer at a police helicopter that flew overhead Monday as Egan slept.
Bronx prosecutors say they've been interviewing Balaguer, who at this point hasn't been charged in connection with the case. They have referred the case to federal authorities, the Bronx district attorney said in a statement.
Balaguer was taken into custody for having skipped court in a marijuana-possession case. He and Egan are due back in court April 17.