A Hillview, Kentucky man was arrested for shooting down a drone that hovered over his house and spied on his young daughters, WDRB reports.
William H. Merideth, 47, was inside his home when his daughter said she saw a drone outside. Merideth grabbed his shotgun and watched as the unmanned aircraft dipped below his neighbor’s canopy, then hovered above his own residence. Concerned that the operator could be spying on his daughters or canvassing his home, Merideth took aim and fired.
“Sunday afternoon, the kids – my girls – were out on the back deck, and the neighbors were out in their yard,” said Merideth. “And they come in and said, ‘Dad, there’s a drone out here flying over everybody’s yard.’”
Merideth wasted no time and quickly armed himself with a shotgun, but waited until the drone was positioned above his residence before taking action.
“Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they’ve got under their back yard,” said Merideth. “I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’”
Ultimately, the drone found its way to Merideth’s home, and after it stayed stationary for several moments, the homeowner felt he had the right to defend his property.
“I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air,” said Merideth.
Moments later, a group of four men approached Merideth, ranting about their destroyed drone.
“They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said,’ Yes, I am,’” Merideth recounted of the event following the shooting. “I had my .40-caliber Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s going to be another shooting.’”
In the end, it wasn’t the drone operators who were arrested for invasion of privacy or trespassing, but Merideth.
“Well, we do have a city ordinance against discharging firearms in the city, but the officer made an arrest for a Kentucky Revised Statute violation,” said Hillview Police Detective Charles McWhirter.
Merideth feels his actions were justified and has no apologies for destroying the nearly $1,800 piece of equipment, reasoning that hovering over someone’s house is the same as trespassing.
“You know, when you’re in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy,” said Merideth. “We don’t know if he was looking at the girls. We don’t know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing.”
Merideth was charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment, but plans to take legal action against the drone operators.