HILLVIEW, KY – A Kentucky man shot down a drone flying over his backyard. Now he’s facing criminal charges.
Local police say this is a first for them.
Along Earlywood way in Bullitt County, neighbors couldn’t ignore a certain buzz one evening recently.
Cindy Diebold said for the first time in person she saw a drone with what looked like a camera on board.
She wasn’t the only one on this block concerned about the tiny unmanned aircraft.
William Merideth was also worried, especially when he says it stopped to hover over his fenced in backyard where his two daughter were sitting outside.
“I wanted to see if it was going to stay there and it did and then I reacted,” said Meridith.
Merideth says he went and got his 12-gauge shotgun and took matters into his own hands.
“They had it low enough that he hit it,” he said. “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.”
So are there rules for drones? The FAA strongly encourages those flying for hobby or recreation to follow certain safety guidelines.
Some include flying below 400 feet, keeping the aircraft within your sight at all times, and do not fly near people. But a spokesperson tells us it would be up to law enforcement agencies to enforce.
After Merideth shot down the drone down, he was approached by four men.
“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.”
So they called police and that’s when Merideth was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief.
“We live in a society now where we don’t know what these people are doing,” said Meridith. “We don’t know if they are pedophiles looking for kids, we don’t know if they are thieves, we don’t know if it’s ISIS.”
merideth stands behind his actions, and he’s not alone.
Cindy Diebold said, “I felt like my privacy was invaded, and I felt like he was protecting all of our rights at that, so I don’t think he should be charged at all.”
Merideth says he has hired an attorney and plans to fight the charges. He is due back in court in September.
Meanwhile, the owner of the drone, David Boggs, has a different version of what happened.
He shared video of his drone’s tracking device, given to him by the drone company. He claims it shows the drone did not hover over the home, but rather flew by at more than 250 feet. A neighbor said the drone did hover over the property.