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News / Northwest

Man accused of shining laser at Border Patrol helicopter

By Associated Press
Published: March 29, 2021, 8:20am

BELLINGHAM – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who was flying in a Blackhawk helicopter Wednesday night sought medical attention after a laser was shined into his eye from a Bellingham-area home.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office booked Ronald Boettcher into Whatcom County Jail Wednesday on suspicion of unlawful discharge of a laser, The Bellingham Herald reported.

Jail records show Boettcher was released Thursday on $1,500 bail. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.

Deputies responded at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday to the area of East Cliffside Drive for a report that a laser had been aimed at a helicopter performing training approaches at Bellingham International Airport, sheriff’s office spokesperson Deb Slater said in an email.

Two agents were in the helicopter at the time.

On their final two approaches, the pilots reported that a laser was aimed into the helicopter’s cockpit, Slater reported.

A neighbor also saw the laser being pointed at the helicopter, and said it had been coming from the backyard of a home where deputies found Boettcher lived, according to Slater.

Deputies contacted Boettcher at the home, and he denied possessing a laser or shining one at an aircraft. Deputies discovered he had a laser pointer, Slater said.