During a recent training exercise off Depoe Bay, coast guardsmen got on the radio reporting that someone was shining a powerful laserbeam at them from the shore. It thoroughly disrupted their training exercise, forcing them to return to base to ascertain whether anyone’s eyes had been damaged. The eye exams took the better part of ten hours to ensure the health of the guardsmen. And in that time, a major search and rescue component of the Central Coast’s Coast Guard was literally beached and unavailable.
Moments after the laser assault, sheriff’s deputies converged on Depoe Bay and spotted a car parked up against the sea wall in the main downtown area. Deputies talked with the people in the car and quickly ascertained that it was Henry Cole, a Depoe Bay residents, that was responsible for the laser aimed at the Coast Guard motorlifeboat and the helo overhead. Cole was taken into custody and transported to the Lincoln County Jail. There it was learned he was also wanted on a warrant for violating a restraining order. So he was booked into jail for that in addition to Menacing and Disorderly Conduct toward the Coast Guard. Cole’s bail was set at $40,000.
The Coast Guard Investigative Services is also evaluating the investigation to determine if separate federal charges are in order.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard reminds us that it is a crime to point a laser device at uniformed law enforcement, uniformed security personnel, aircraft or any vessel underway.