DETROIT – A man in Detroit pointed a laser and fired a rifle at a police helicopter Tuesday evening. Law enforcement officers returned fire and the suspect died as a result of the shooting, according to reports.
The shooting transpired sometime after 7:30 p.m. when the helicopter was in orbit north of downtown Detroit, authorities said. The suspect, an unnamed 33-year-old man, had been staying in the abandoned home at the time of the shooting, a neighbor told FOX 2 Detroit.
In the video, the man emerged from the second-story window and aimed a green laser at the aircraft.
“We got somebody hitting us with a green laser on the rear of the house, upper window,” the helicopter pilot said.
Within minutes, the suspect came out of the house and aimed a “long gun” toward the hovering helicopter before opening fire, the New York Post reported.
“Now there’s somebody standing at the back door. Right now, they’re in the backyard,” the pilot said. “He actually might, he might be armed. He almost looks like he’s holding a long gun pointed at us right now. Yeah, he’s shooting at us right now. He’s firing rounds. He’s got a long gun, extended magazine.”
Police quickly locked down the area and engaged the suspect. Two state troopers returned fire and the suspect died as a result of the shooting, FOX 2 reported.
“Troopers returned fire,” Lt. Mike Shaw with the Michigan State Police said. “The suspect was hit and went down. We had our emergency support team show up, and went up to approach the house. There were concerns because he was still armed and was laying there.”
People don’t realize the seriousness of aiming a laser at aircraft, the lieutenant noted.
“If the pilot had been blinded and crashed into this neighborhood, it would have been a lot worse,” Shaw said.
Investigators recovered five firearms at the abandoned home that was occupied by the suspect, including the one used by the man to open fire on the police helicopter.
“They found multiple weapons and ammunition stashes throughout the home as if it were set up for some type of ambush or security purposes or whatever,” Shaw said, according to the news outlet.
Police inspected the helicopter and said it did not sustain any damage from the shooting.