Pacific Beach man who discharged laser into police helicopter settles case
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 03/04/19 - 08:05 AM | 7703 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Pacific Beach man who discharged a purple laser into a police helicopter from Fiesta Island has settled his case with a misdemeanor charge and was placed on probation.

A felony charge was dismissed against Robert Louis Silva Jr., 33, after he pleaded guilty to discharging the laser as a misdemeanor offense. San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren placed him on three years probation.

Silva got one day in jail as a credit and no further jail time was ordered, according to court records. Silva confirmed to a reporter last week that his case was over and he declined further comment.

Silva was awaiting a second trial after the jury deadlocked Jan. 16 in a 9-3 vote in favor of acquittal. Jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked and could not resolve the case.

Silva's attorney, Angela Turner, told jurors he briefly shined the laser into the "pitch black" sky at the object at 10:30 p.m. on March 20, 2018, after he thought he was shining it at a drone operated by an acquaintance.

Turner said the police helicopter was 1,500 feet in the air and it was flying over North Park at the time. She said Silva had no intention to harm anyone.

Silva apologized repeatedly to officers after he was questioned and then arrested at Fiesta Island. The pilot and an officer in the helicopter reported eye irritation and the pilot donned night vision goggles.

 

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