A man in Hillview, Kentucky was arrested last week after he used a 12 gauge shotgun to bring down a drone flying over his house. William Merideth, 47, told reporters that he first noticed the drone on Sunday night when his daughters pointed it out hovering over his neighbor’s house. When it begin to fly over his own property, Merideth said it made him uncomfortable.

“Is he looking at the girls, the young girls? Or is he looking for something to steal?  It’s an invasion of privacy,” Merideth told WDRB.

The drone, reportedly valued at $1,800, carried a small camera and was recording footage as it flew over the area. Some of Merideth’s neighbors also found the presence of the drone “creepy” and intrusive, but Merideth caused a stir when he took out a shotgun and shot straight up into the air with birdshot, hitting the craft and sending it crashing into the ground.

“I wanted to see if it was going to stay there and it did and I reacted,” he told WAVE 3. “It’s an invasion of privacy. We were in our own yard, had he been flying around and never stopped over my house, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Shortly afterward, Merideth said four men showed up to his home and asked him if he was the one that shot down the drone. Merideth confronted the men while openly carrying a handgun and confirmed that he was.

“‘Was I the guy that did it?’ I said ‘Absolutely’ and the four of them started this way and I let them know that I would defend my property,” Merideth said.

He was later arrested by Hillview police and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. Merideth contends that he did not endanger anyone because of the birdshot he used. He has since hired an attorney and stated that he will be fighting the charges in court, as well as pursuing a legal case against the owner of the drone, David Boggs.

Boggs said the drone was flying over Merideth’s property for just seconds before it was shot down. The drone operator also claimed that he was not there to record video of the area’s houses or residents, but just to have fun. Boggs further claimed that the drone never went lower than 200 feet. Merideth refutes this, arguing that the birdshot he used would not have been able to bring down the drone if it had been that high up.

Boggs said that someone removed the SD card containing the footage of the incident, further complicating matters. The remainder of the drone has been returned to its owner.

Under the current rules set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a drone is considered a civil aircraft—albeit one with no passengers—and it is legal to fly one over a private residence. The drone operator is required to keep it under 400 feet, a certain distance away from people or animals, and within sight at all times. Shooting a legally operated drone can be considered a federal crime.

You can watch an interview with Merideth below:

WDRB 41 Louisville News

File image is public domain

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25 thoughts on “Kentucky Man Arrested for Shooting Drone Hovering over His Property

  1. The idea that it is classified as a civil aircraft is ridiculous, It is an expensive toy. If it is a “civil aircraft” where is its N-Number? A civil aircraft has to have an N-number which is visible from the ground.

    1. I absolutely agree and if a civil aircraft dared to fly that low over a residential area, the FAA would be waiting for him at the airfield so they can tear up his pilots licence.
      It’s the owner of the drone who should have been arrested.

  2. He was right to shoot the drone down. The drone owner should be charged for voyeurism. Lets call it what it is. They were Peeping Toms.

  3. I don’t think anyone has the right to hover in your air space – he is right. Whether that is law or not. Cameras can pick out amazing detail. They should not be flying over private residence. Courts have better get this figured out. To add to the trophy hunting bash going on, guys are using them to scout animals – our hunting is turning into convenience killing. Find it the easiest way you can, then shoot it. All is bad rep for our sport.

  4. If the incident happened as stated that the daughters were bothered by it flying over, I think the property owner has right to privacy in their own yard. If the daughter’s noticed it, it had to be lower than 200 ft. Also I don’t buy the drone operators story that it was over the property for a few seconds, the guy had time to go in and come out with the shotgun. If you buy an expensive toy and don’t want it damaged, don’t fly it over the neighborhood to check out the girls.

  5. I agree 100% with this father! No matter what the law is, NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO ENDANGER MY FAMILY! While this thing was over his home, what if it had malfunctioned and hit one of his family. And even worse is the guy claims the memory card is missing. But if he was watching this man’s girls or someone else’s child then he wouldn’t have wanted it recorded and there wouldn’t be a memory card. While my family and I was visiting Cedar Island, NC a couple weeks ago there was a military drone that flew over a couple of times. One time it was a little low but it never hovered and kept moving. Like this man said if it had kept going then no problem. I live in a very rural area and sometimes while people are bird hunting you may hear a few pellets tap your roof. You should always try not to let this happen. But any real Hunter knows that if you shoot straight up in the air with bird shot, the pellets have no force behind them when falling straight down. So unless you are looking up and one hits your eye I wouldn’t think there would be any real danger of the pellets when they are falling.

  6. People want to call this voyeurism, or invasion of privacy. But how is a drone hundreds of feet up in the air any worse than somebody who decides to fly over in a helicopter and take HD pictures of your property. In both cases it is legal to do so, just like it’s legal to have your property shown to the world on Google maps. The answer isn’t to shoot the thing down and blame it on the other guy, the answer is to create proper laws, and deal with the situation in a lawful and respectful manner. I wouldn’t be surprised if the property owner stole the SD card to cover himself.

    If this man has heard of drones before, but has paid no attention and hasn’t cared enough to push his representatives to secure him and his property by law, then he gave up whatever he thought his right was. In a lot of ways, this could be similar to shooting somebody’s vehicle if they’re barely on your property, and you think they might be watching you because you’re paranoid. Nobody would accept that. If you find yourself in a similar situation, simply use a video recorder to record the device hovering in your airspace. if you’re really annoyed you can follow it to its owner, who is supposed to be within viewing range, and complain to them in a reasonable manner without drawing a weapon. I mean one way in which this man hurts himself, is that he holds his gun and announces that he’s going to defend himself when these folks simply want to recover their device peacefully. I doubt this man cares much about other people.

    1. It takes FOUR of them to recover the device “peacefully”? You have no legal right to trespass on private property. The drone bozos should have taken their toy to an open field or park because they sure as hell had no legitimate reason to be flying it over a populated area.
      By the way, I wonder what was on the missing memory card ?
      Care to guess ?

  7. Ok, the homeowner technically violated KRS. However, as a father I don’t blame him either. This drone BS is getting stupid & he’s not the first to blast one. I see it as as ‘occupational hazard’ for the drones. There have been too many peeping incidents around the U.S. in NYC high rises etc. Several have crashed & some have caused injury. The FAA must regulate them more strictly or let the states step up & do it, no longer classifying them as “civil aviation”. That’s like saying RC cars can be registered as motor vehicles??

    How many near strikes must civil, military & commercial aviation endure before these damn things are addressed?? Wait till an Airbus full of people is damaged or worse yet sent auguring into terra firma & THEN legislation will happen!

    The problem would go away if there was an ‘open season’………..

  8. Since I own the exact same drone they are talking about, I’m interested in this. I try to follow the laws and keep it away from people. I hate when these things happen because it makes it less likely that I’ll be able to enjoy flying mine in the future. Because I do own one I know that the camera lens is very wide angle, it’s a fixed lense which means it can not zoom. Even at 50 to 100 feet people appear very small. The drone is also capable of recording a log of every where it flies. I have read that drone fell in a neighbors yard which means he did not shoot it directly overhead, I’ve also read a report that another reporter has seen this log and said the drone was not shot where the man with shotgun said it was shot. I strongly disagree with shooting them out of the sky in densely populated areas, mostly because what goes up must come down, including the drone. These things are here now. Dji and 3DR hope to sell 200,000 each in the next 3 months. Hopefully there will be clear laws and regulations adopted in the near future. I pretty sure that most people that own drones are pretty responsible. I just wish they all were

    1. I disagree with your comment about where the drone was shot vs where it came down. Any shooter knows that when shooting a bird (same difference here), it will continue to follow it’s apogee in a kind of a descending curve until it hits the earth. The drone, which is heavier and traveling fast enough to suspend itself over the earth would do the same thing in relation to any “forward movement” it was engaging in when it was shot down. Simple physics, simpler math. And just because a “reporter” was nearby does NOT make the individual an expert in these things.
      I do, however agree that we need laws and clear regulations regarding the conduct with and use of drones by their owners. If someone were standing near my home and taking pictures of my family and property, I’d stop them and demand to know what they were doing invading my privacy. I’d also call a cop, but I’d be sure to bring a weapon along “just in case”. I take an exceedingly dim view of such behavior, and here in Idaho YOU DO NOT INTERFERE WITH HONEST FOLK IN THEIR OWN HOMES. EVER. The world is a big place. No telling where a… drone could be buried.

  9. I will shoot one down too if it comes buzzing around my property!
    I have a right to defend my home and property against most any threat and you do not know what the intentions of the drone owner might be!
    I would suggest that in the future people operating these things ask permission of the land owner before videoing their private property!

  10. Good walls make good neighbors. There is a reason we mark our property with signs that say Private Property, or Keep Out, or No Hunting! These drones violate all manners of boundaries simply because they are inexpensive to buy and easy enough to learn how to operate. Nowadays, any would-be criminal can use a drone with a camera to scout prospective victims without revealing him/herself. Who’s to say someone’s not flying their drone right up to your windows at night? Clearly, we need legislation to say “Keep Out, or Fair Game”

  11. Good for him because I I had my daughter outside n as he said if it flew by…no words no worries but when it comes back again and stays there then he’ll ya shoot that sob down….really they Wana charge this guy plz then this just shows nothing but how stupid and flawed there privacy rules are. ..if it was a politician or police officer or any uniform would they charge them?

  12. I wonder who has possession of the memory card from the camera and what is on it, if it does happen to have photos taken into peoples hoses through their windows, particularly if they are of young girls I hope that it is presented in evidence and the guy who shot the plane recieves a pat on the back and the drone owner/pilot get a very big pineapple and some time in jail.

  13. Im sure flying a drone is fun and i would actually like to own one but i can understand if someone sees a drone hovering around their houses where someone could become suspicious and i would probably take action also? I think there will be a lot more problems such as this and the FAA will have to change their laws regarding this problem with drones. People should expect to have privacy in their own homes and back yards from prying eyes, especially i could see major problems with paparazzi’s using drones to photograph celebrities.

  14. Just like every thing else in this world today nobody is content with having a hobby or activity to enjoy. No, they have to push it to see if they can get away with something more. Never satisfied! So, as the old saying goes: you want to dance, then you have to pay the fiddler! Be a man or woman and be responsible for you actions and respect your fellow man.

  15. Agree completely with the irate father. A “peeping tom” by any other name is still a “peeping tom”. The owner of the drone should have kept it at home. I sincerely hope the County/District Attorney who attempts to prosecute this BS is severely spanked next election.

  16. This man was taking pictures of a minor in a bathing suit without parental consent.at the least that is voyearism if she was sunbathing nude or topless then that is production of child pornography.and of course the FAA guidelines concerning drones state that they may not be flown over buildings this man’s home and his neighbors homes certainly qualify as buildings.has this guy been taking pictures of other young girls? have the authorities confiscated his computer???is the FBI even looking into him?probably not because the evil gun owner dared to defend his daughter and his property

    1. Why should I have to buy a net gun!? Or anything else to protect myself and family from these psychos? That’s rediculous! Just like California to pretend it found “the” solution. All that does is allow the scumbags to continue, and makes me lose money having to pay for the legislation and buy some STUPID ASS net gun! NO WAY! I already own a shotgun, that will suffice until you morons wake up and ACTUALLY solve this……

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