PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A suspect who is accused of shining a laser beam at Chopper 3 HD earlier this year is facing federal charges.

Investigators say 29-year-old Daniel Dangler is the man who flashed a laser beam at Chopper 3 HD on July 18th as it flew over Northeast Philadelphia, endangering the pilot and cameraman aboard.

Fortunately, pilot Bret Berlinger says the beam, which could have blinded him and potentially led to a crash, did not contact him directly in his eyes. The suspect, who appeared to be activating the laser from a row home, fired four separate bursts of light toward the chopper.

At the time it happened, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan says the laser firing was not a prank but, in his words, “an attempt to bring down an aircraft.”

Sullivan credited cameraman Al Nugent with capturing rare video of the laser. While there have been many laser incidents nationwide, few, if any, have been caught on video because aircraft, unlike Chopper 3 HD, are not equipped with the same type of cameras.

If convicted, Dangler could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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