DENVER — An Arvada man has confessed to creating a dangerous situation for FOX31’s helicopter crew in midair Thursday. He said he’s embarrassed and wants to apologize.
The incident happened Thursday morning as the SkyFOX crew was covering rush hour traffic. A flash of light hit the aircraft’s curved window, expanding throughout the cockpit. The light was so bright it temporarily blinded KOA radio traffic reporter John Morrissey.
“When it hit the windshield, it just kind of blew up,” Morrissey said. “It made me mad more than anything.”
Multiple flashes of light came from a parking lot near Interstate 70 and Central Park Boulevard in Denver.
Photojournalist Paul Drexler was able to quickly pinpoint the suspect’s location while recording him. Police were called and located suspect Kenneth Karol of Arvada, who admits he’s to blame.
“It was a pretty high-powered laser,” Karol said. “I was shining it on a news helicopter and apparently it ain’t legal and it’s really bad.”
Karol insisted he had no idea he was breaking federal law.
“I didn’t know the repercussions of what I was doing, and to those gentlemen — thank you very much for making it out alive,” Karol said. “Thank you that you’re home with your families. I truly am sorry.”
The men in the helicopter said they don’t want to see Karol behind bars.
“It’s extremely irresponsible and maybe use better judgment next time,” SkyFOX pilot Kelby Alexander said.
The crew of three is happy with Karol’s public apology. But the apology might not be good enough for the FBI. Karol said agents have told him he can expect a subpoena.
“I have a beautiful boy and girl,” Karol said. “An awesome wife who loves me. No, I don’t want to go away. Not at all.”
The SkyFOX crew hopes this story serves as a serious wake-up call for anyone with a laser pointer. Never shine a laser light at an aircraft.