While fans are happy that the Rainbow Warrior football team notched another win last Saturday night, there’s also concern about the apparent use of a laser pointer to disrupt the game.
The light from the laser pointer was enough for the Wyoming quarterback to alert his coach. Referees held up action on the field, while an announcement from the public address system warned fans that the use of a laser pointer is prohibited in the stadium.
Initial reports said there was a green laser light pointed at the field, but KHON2 has learned that another laser pointer may have been used at the game.
Steve Murray, associate editor for Midweek magazine, told KHON2 that at the game, he was sitting in the press box above the Aloha Stadium when he saw something strange.
“I was sitting there playing around with my computer, and all of a sudden I saw out of the corner of my eye a little red light dancing for about two seconds or so,” said Murray. “I think the reports on the field said it was a green light. I saw a red light, which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”
Stadium security officials say their first report that something was happening on the field occurred just before the start of the 4th quarter when, during a break in the game, there was a football tossing contest at the north end of the stadium. Someone reported that there was some kind of light shining from the south end of the stadium.
Security was sent to the south side, but they could not find the person responsible. Stadium officials say they will now step up their bag checks when people enter the stadium, but admit confiscating something small like a laser pointer will be difficult.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult to prevent something like this from entering the stadium,” said Lois Manin, the stadium’s deputy manager. “But I think the most effective way will be through the texting program because it’s anonymous and pretty discreet.”
Manin said event staff are constantly monitoring the stands and there are security cameras mounted around the stadium.
That texting program is already in place, called “If You See Something, Say Something.” Those in attendance at a stadium event can text the word “Aloha” to 78247 to report activity they think is suspicious to stadium security.
As you continue texting, you can tell security what the activity is and where it is.
To shine a laser to annoy, harass or alarm someone could be punished by a fine of between $100 and $500 or face up to 30 days in prison, or both.
University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay is also calling on fans for help. “We’re aware there were probably fans in and around where the perpetrator was using the laser like that,” he said. “We’re hoping that they will come forward with information to identify who the individual was.”
Police have not yet opened an investigation into the incident, and a spokesperson for the University of Wyoming told KHON2 that the school will defer to Hawaii officials to deal with the matter.