On Sunday, William Merideth blasted a flying quadcopter out of the sky with a shotgun in Hillview, Kentucky, and was arrested shortly after for first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree wanton endangerment.
Merideth claims the drone was flying ten feet above his property and had been spying on his neighbor’s sunbathing daughter.
“Sunday afternoon, the kids – my girls – were out on the back deck, and the neighbors were out in their yard,” Merideth told WDRB. “And they come in and said, ‘Dad, there’s a drone out here, flying over everybody’s yard.’ 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 in their back yard. I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property. Within a minute or so, here it came. It was 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. It was just right there. It was hovering. I would never have shot it if it was flying.”
Merideth’s claim of righteously defending his property and his neighbor’s honor are disputed by the drone’s owner, who has evidence that conclusively rebuts Merideth.
David Boggs showed WDRB a video of the flight path of the altitude of the drone, showing the drone not dropping down to 10 feet.
“We are now 193 feet above the ground,” Boggs described as he showed us the flight path. “This area here is the world-famous drone slayer home, and this is a neighbor’s home, and our friends live over here, and over here, and over here. You will see now that we did not go below this altitude — we even went higher — nor did we hover over their house to look in. And for sure didn’t descend down to no 10 feet, or look under someone’s canopy, or at somebody’s daughter.”
Boggs’s account is made even more conclusive by Merideth’s own statement about his actions after the shooting when he threatened to shoot Boggs.
“Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds,” Merideth said. “They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am. I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting.'”
The police arrived soon after and arrested Merideth. In addition to the criminal charges, Merideth can expect a lawsuit for destroying an $1800 drone.
In October last year, a New York was also arrested for firing a shotgun at a drone. A previous civil case is also not in Merideth’s favor, after a California man was ordered to pay for blasting a drone out of the sky.