Man accused of pointing laser at Las Vegas police helicopter

David Berg (Metropolitan Police Department)

A Las Vegas man has been arrested after police said he repeatedly pointed a laser at a Las Vegas police helicopter during a shooting investigation.

An arrest report for David Berg, 42, indicates the helicopter was hovering in the east Las Vegas sky on April 19 at 10:25 p.m., with pilot and a passenger inside, when a laser kept honing in on the helicopter. The pilot, police said, then observed a man in a black tank top pointing a laser at the aircraft as the man stood in the driveway of a home near East Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway.

Officers responded to the scene and found Berg in the driveway of the home wearing a black tank top and holding a young child, police wrote in Berg’s arrest report. Nearby, police found a .45-caliber handgun with a laser mounted on it.

“I asked David how many times he pointed his handgun at the police helicopter and he stated 4-5 times,” police said.

Police also asked Berg if he knew the helicopter was a law enforcement aircraft and Berg confirmed he did. Berg told police the gun was not loaded. Police then inspected the firearm and found no bullet in the chamber, but 13 rounds were in the magazine of the weapon.

Berg was arrested and booked at the Clark County Detention Center on eight felony counts of assault on protected person with use of a deadly weapon. A status check on whether formal charges will be filed by prosecutors is scheduled for May 23 in Las Vegas Justice Court. He has since been released from custody after posting a surety bond.

In June, the crews of three jets flying into Harry Reid International Airport reported that someone pointed a laser at them as they approached the runway. Two of those planes were commercial airliners while the third was a regional jet. The incidents happened between 9:40 p.m. and midnight. It was not immediately clear Monday if any arrests were ever made on those incidents.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that the pointing of lasers at aircraft should be considered a “serious threat to aviation safety.”

“The light from a high-powered laser beam can temporarily blind a pilot,” the FAA notes.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.