A 17-year-old boy was arrested and may face criminal charges for allegedly pointing a laser at San Francisco Giants pitcher Shane Loux during Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis police say he also pointed the laser at Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Cardinals Director of Security and Special Services Joe Walsh said pointing a laser during baseball games jeopardizes player safety.
“When you’re a batter in the box and you see a laser pointed on the pitcher, what’s your eye doing? You’re going to look at the laser, not the ball,” Walsh told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It puts you in immediate danger. If someone hit you in the eye with that thing, you’re blinded. Then when you go into what’s been going on in the country right now, it’s totally irresponsible to pretend you’ve got laser sights on somebody.”
At the time, police had no way of knowing whether the laser was from a harmless pointer or from the scope of a rifle.
The incident happened in the bottom of the seventh inning, during the Cardinals’ 8-2 victory over the Giants.
Matheny saw a green flash on the mound as Loux was winding up to pitch to the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday.
Holliday called a time out. Umpire Marvin Hudson looked around. Holliday looked into the stands before Hudson resumed play.
Holliday spotted the green laser on the back of Loux’s jersey and stepped out of the batter’s box.
The Giants’ Timmy Lincecum saw the laser light up Loux’s face.
“Timmy (Lincecum) said he saw where my face was lit up green,” Loux said. “But I had no idea. I just saw Matt jump out of the box and didn’t know what he was doing. I had no idea until later.”
Matheny saw the teenager laughing in a suite along the first base line. He pointed to the teenager and said, “I see you.” The teen laughed, waved and pointed the laser above the manager’s head.
Police say they saw three teenagers leave the suite as security workers converged on it. One of the kids threw the laser into a trashcan. Police stopped the teens before they could leave the ballpark.
The suspect comes from Ladue — the wealthiest suburb of St. Louis. He’s a friend of the son of a Mercy Health Systems executive. Police described the executive who was with the teens as “uncooperative” and “confrontational.”
“We had young kids acting stupid, but we had adults acting even more boorish,” Walsh said. “They were interfering with what we were doing to stop the problem.”
The Cardinals security force recovered two bottles of liquor that had been smuggled into the stadium.
“We regret that this incident occurred, but because it is a police matter we cannot comment any further at this time,” said a Mercy Health spokesperson. “Mercy is conducting its own internal review of this unfortunate incident.”
The 17-year-old spent the night in jail.