Man Arrested for Shooting Drone Hovering Over Daughters

William H. Merideth was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment after shooting down a drone that was hovering over his back deck.

A 47-year-old man from Hillview, Kentucky was arrested and charged on July 26 with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment after shooting down a drone that was hovering over his back deck.

According to WDRB, William H. Merideth used a shotgun to bring down a drone that was hovering while his daughters “were out on the back deck.” Merideth says his daughters came in and said, “there’s a drone out there flying over everybody’s yard.”

Merideth went outside and saw the drone over the neighbor’s yard and determined not to shoot unless it came back over his property. In the next minute or so, Merideth says the drone was back “hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky.”

“I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air.”

According to the police, the owner of the drone claims he was flying to take pictures of a friend’s house. The drone cost more than $1,800.

Merideth’s neighbors saw the drone, too. “It was just hovering above our house and it stayed for a few moments and then she finally waved and it took off,” says neighbor Kim VanMeter. “I just think you should have privacy in your own backyard.”

“They didn’t confiscate the drone. They gave the drone back to the individuals,” he said. “They didn’t take the SIM card out of it…but we’ve got…five houses here that everyone saw it – they saw what happened, including the neighbors that were sitting in their patio when he flew down low enough to see under the patio.”

As the report points out, the Academy of Model Aeronautics safety code says drones can’t be flown recklessly manner and must be launched at least 100 feet downwind of spectators. The FAA says drones cannot fly over buildings—and that shooting them poses a significant safety hazard.

“An unmanned aircraft hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” says FAA spokesman Les Dorr.

Merideth said he was disappointed with the police response.


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