VIDEO: Man charged with pointing laser at aircraft in Lakewood Ranch

Published: Oct. 6, 2023 at 12:27 PM EDT
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LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (WWSB) - A South Carolina man was arrested in Lakewood Ranch Thursday night after he allegedly pointed a laser at several aircraft and a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office patrol car, authorities said.

At around 9:30 p.m., the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit monitoring radio traffic from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport reporting that an incoming aircraft being struck with a green laser light.

Pilots indicated the source came from an area near Lakewood Ranch High School.

While the Sheriff’s helicopter was responding to the 5500 block of Lakewood Ranch Booulevard, another call came in by a citizen being painted by the same laser.

As deputies arrived on the scene, the suspect, later identified as Nicholas S. Clayton, 35, shined the laser pointer at a deputy’s patrol vehicle. A traffic stop was initiated but the suspect refused to exit his vehicle.

After ignoring multiple commands to surrender, Clayton was removed and placed under arrest.

Clayton, who provided deputies with an address from Clover, South Carolina, is charged with pointing a laser at a driver/pilot and resisting arrest.