Father Arrested For Shooting Down Drone Hovering Over Sun-Bathing Daughters


A Kentucky man, 47-year-old William Merideth, is arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree wanton endangerment, after he shot down a drone worth $1,800 while it was flying over his house. He was booked into the Bullitt County Detention Center on July 26, but was later released.

While the owner of the drone claimed he was flying it to get pictures of a friend’s house, Merideth said the drone violated his right to privacy.


“Sunday afternoon, the kids – my girls – were out on the back deck, and the neighbors were out in their yard. 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. Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds. 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’,” he told WDRB News.

Merideth was not apologetic for his actions. “He didn’t just fly over. If he had been moving and just kept moving, that would have been one thing – but when he come directly over our heads, and just hovered there, I felt like I had the right. You know, when you’re in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. 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,” he said, justifying the shooting.

Hillview Police were called to Merideth’s house after someone complained about a firearm. He was arrested soon afterward. “There were some words exchanged there about my weapon, and I was open carry — it was completely legal. They took me to jail because I fired the shotgun into the air. They didn’t confiscate the drone. They gave the drone back to the individuals. 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,” he complained.

Facing trial himself, Merideth plans to take legal action against the owners of the drone. “We’re not going to let it go. I believe there are rules that need to be put into place and the situation needs to be addressed. We need to have some laws in place to handle these kind of things.”

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    • FAA regulation for drones state line of site operation only, and may not fly over another person’s private property without permission. While shooting a gun in the air is a crime, the drone operator was in violation of FAA regulation, and during a time when the government would like to make some examples of careless drone owners.

      • Another thing the drone people said his drone was shot at 293 feet. Shotgun is only lethal at 50 yards max with a choke on it that roughly 140 feet. There’s no way so he had to be at most 140 feet in the air

        • “Lethal” means reliably killing a human being, but this is a drone, so who knows what the maximum range is to damage it… it probably depends on the exact make and model.

    • Drones pose a whole new challenge, for sure. I submit this idea though. What about the perv across the street who has a high power telescope trained on your patio? Technically, if you are outside of your home and visible by the public, that’s pretty much fair game, right? I question not the moral and ethical aspects of this issue, but rather the legal ones. Is the operator of this drone committing a crime any more than the telescope operator if the drone had not been within personal property airspace, but adjacent to it, say on the sidewalk? Why, or why not?

      • You bigot, there is a big difference in having a DRONE spy on you and someone with a telescope. Drones has the possibility to do damage as in carrying a bomb or maybe suspicious powder which can easily be dumped on someone, while the culprits watch from far away. I bet you wouldn’t like it if a drone hover over you and it exploded, now would you?

        • Wow. This is an unfortunate example of the reasoning skills of far too many people. JeremyA raised an issue and invited discussion of it. Instead of replying with a response based critical thinking and logic, which could have actually started a discussion, the reply began with a personal attack with misused vocabulary and ended with what looked like an assumption that was used to support an accusation. The thing is, the post included some content that could have supported a position we could read and think about, even discuss. It really didn’t seem to invite discussion though. It’s so unfortunate that we aren’t taught how to think in public schools. Rather than trying to discover what might be true or what makes sense, all that happens is name-calling, verbal attacks, and so on. Our “discussions” are done in a win-loose context and that means if my opponent makes a point that’s valid I can’t learn from it or even acknowledge it because that would mean I loose.

      • 6′ privacy fence. Not visible to public. Just another attack on 2nd ammendment. Gun was legal, drones are capable of having weapons but also certainly used for scouting prior to breaking in to steal. Also. Not taking sim card seems to be not collecting obvious evidence as to what this loser was doing with the drone.

      • I feel the gun owner/property owner is in the right. I can see your point about the perv with the high power telescope, however this guy had a 6′ privacy fence around his back yard. It’s pretty unlikely that his yard would then be visible by the public unless extreme measure were taken such as the use of a ladder or a DRONE. The property owner had a REASONABLE execution of privacy, which was denied to him by the drone operator.

    • This guy is gonna start shooting down satellite’s next, because Google Earth is always watching him.

      I mean, on a serious note, the owner is a risk to the community if he is gun blasting at any person or thing that dares look at him for a few seconds whilst he is standing on his lawn.

    • the drone ‘may be owned’ by the owner of the property where it dropped or
      landed regardless of the manner it went down. ‘slingshot ok?

  1. Hahaha… You go dad! Protect you and yours by any means available. What’s the difference between a “Peeping Tom” and some scumbag flying a drone onto your property? I’m going to follow this story and call the incompetent police department and ask if its OK if I fly a drone into the airspace of the Mayor’s residence and see what’s going on in the back yard and house. I wonder if the police chief would have a problem with that?

  2. So now in the weird America, you can take a look in others property using a drone and that’s fine?. Weird country with weird laws!.

    • Actually the amount of damage underage sunbathing pics could cause is huge. The girls may have been 16. they were in the privacy of their own backyard- maybe the dad should invest in a boomerang.

      (I don’t agree with a lot of the US’s gun laws- but I do have to admit that the dad did the right thing. People- don’t fly drones over others backyards.

    • Anonymous, Is this your only view on this??? Wheres the fight for the People’s Rights against the Machine rather than to be concerned about the least of concern!! Yes, yes, What goes sup must come down… We know this, but, you state such lame statement with any sternness of support for the Father concerned?? Your statement seem the view of a Loner, NOT UNANYMOUS, ANONYMOUS! My first time here, and you disappoint me!

      • I don’t think this site adheres to the ideals of core anonymous, it seems to be some kind of facebook clickbait version.

    • Bull-SHIT, it was only a shotgun you fucking pussy. You obviously don’t know the first thing about firearms, fucking pansie…

  3. We should fly some drones in front of government offices… I can see this being a good thing… What ahe air is public right?

  4. For all you creeps saying its okay to fly a camera into someone else’s yard and think that the shooter was in the wrong, well you might be mentally retarded or have shit for brains. Innocent or not, if you come into my backyard on two feet holding a camera or down the road flying a drone with a camera, well one of those might save your life because I will be putting 9mm holes in the camera. Especially if it’s near my kids. Privacy is a God given right that no man or document can take that away. You people have to be trolls because nobody can be that brain dead, not even the dead.

  5. Do you remember what happened to the guy who flew his drone over white house fence? Why would i allow for someone to take pics of me in my home im on the owner side!

  6. so, you americans are fine with the NSA listening in on your phone conversations, reading all your emails, and watching everything you do online, but a drone flies over that can take pictures, that are not quite as good as the satellites flying over, and you all loose your shit.

  7. He had the right to shoot that drone down. If it does happens to me, I would do exactly the same thing. It’s in violation of my privacy, my air space, and no one, and say it again, no one has the right to fly anything over .my property. I bet I can shootthat drone twice before it hits the ground. lmao

  8. Firing a shotgun into the air isn’t all that bad. A shotgun has a very limited range. Discharging a firearm in city limits may be an issue against city ordinance. The drone was snooping around. What if the daughters were naked? They were sunbathing.. they could have been half-naked.. A peeping drone is just not cool. Invasion of Privacy vs. destruction of property .. hmmmm… I’d put Human unalienable rights before property rights any day.

  9. I fly drones FPV quad with tilt rotors, and anyone flying low and slow enough to get shot down deserves to loss there drone… I rarely fly slower than 50mph zooming around trees and high buildings, but I fly for that “star wars effect” not spying, honestly there pretty crap at spying on stuff because the prop jello effect on the cameras… unless your spending thousands on high end camera and steady hover with gimbles…and then you deserve shooting down again lol

  10. I don’t know the laws in the U.S. but in germany airspace is free and public and it is legal to fly over private poperty.
    In germany you are not allowed to take pictures of people or buildings without their permission but you are allowed to fly wherever you want as far as you are not violating air law.
    But germany is a civilized country, we don’t shoot at things and people at every opportunity 🙂

      • At least Germany finally became civilized , we here in America have been brainwashed from day one to think that we have some transcendent moral imperative that allows to believe that we are always in the right when we send troops overseas. For all the horrific acts of the Third Reich, (which is one of the rare cases where we had just cause to be involved in a war )with regard to Jewish Genocide, The Millions of people that died pale in comparison to our own slaughter of Native Americans. Historical fact the largest mass genocide occurred on american soil!!! Then we could add in our own “Civil” war. Really take the blinders off and quit pointing fingers until you learn a little history. But then that is why the rest of the world is turning their back on The USA, Because of our selfish uneducated arrogance. We never learn from history,, we ignore it.

  11. It’s a real proof of missing brainpower not to find a better way solving this problem. A suspicion of harming your privacy can’t legitimate destruction of property. Maybe take the next step of civilization and stop unnecessary shooting?!

    • 1. Almost impossible to catch a drone from the air
      2. You can’t find out the owner of the drone unless you take the drone out and take it they’ll come for it if they want it
      3. Although you are right loss of privacy can’t justify destruction of property it was the quickest solution to the problem

  12. SIM card in a drone? What?
    “the drone’s operator has provided a video record of the drone’s movements on the date of the incident, appearing to show that the vehicle was over 200 feet in the air at the time it was shot down.”

    Why is everyone so damn paranoid about these? More people end up in camera phone shots accidentally than drone shots and no one is worried about those. Airspace over his house ISN’T HIS PROPERTY.

  13. Its definitely a invasion of privacy, and if i felt i was being spied on by a drone I will shoot it down too.At least he was smart and waited till it was hovering above him. They didn’t see him pull out his gun? they could of just flown off. but they just sat there like pervy idiots. A person has a right to protect his family from invasion of privacy. He had no clue who was on other end. could of been a thief or perv, and he has 2 young girls to protect. Gonna need to make some laws here protecting peoples privacy, before something bad happens.

  14. The guy is going to jail for multiple reasons:
    – You don’t own the sky. The only “airspace” you own, is from the ground up to the highest structure directly connected to the ground. [Supreme court: Florida vs. Riley]. There is no expectation of privacy from the air downwards. Would you shoot your neighbor looking at your property from his second floor? How about the kids jumping on a trampoline? A hand-glider? Why don’t you walk naked on your back yard? probably because you know a neighbor might see you….
    – Shooting inside city limits.
    – Destruction of property. Would you slash a stranger’s tires for parking on your drive way? I don’t think so, you talk to the guy, you call the cops.
    – Shooting an aircraft while inside the national airspace.

    With that said, the drone owner should know better also:
    Just like nobody would like a telescope or binoculars pointing at their house or a camera man standing in front of your house constantly filming, or following you the drone should stay limited at his back yard or a community park or a model aircraft runway.

  15. If they were to fly that drone over the white house or a government installation they’ed be arrested… so why does that citizen have to abide to different rules… the constitution says we are created equal… those pervs should have been arrested….

  16. If you start taking pictures around my kids I have the right to protest them end of. Good on you for shooting it down any sensible person would think… hey lets not disturb the neighbors unless you are plain thick. I would of kicked them in the bollox also so they got off lightly

  17. I say good for him, I would do the same! Not only is it just wrong to fly over someones private property, You never know what kind of psycho is at the controls.Id rather be the psycho that shoots it down. Im sure if need be he will have no shortage of people willing to contribute to his legal defense!

  18. I have been to Drone seminars and you are not allowed to fly over anyone’s house without their permissionIf I see one hovering in my yard I will take it out as well But it won’t be with a shotgun it will with my M 44

  19. Though shooting down the drone was illegal, I think the owners should be charged as well because from what I’m reading in comments private airspace is up to 500ft, the drone being well below that, I don’t even see the point of an argument attesting to public airspace beyond that point. I think individual rights should be enforced because I’m not one for an increase in laws stating what we can and can’t do and think that things should be left to human responsibility. It’s ridiculous that we need a babysitter to govern what we do, if he flew the drone over the yard, so be it – and if that drone happens to get shot down because the owner of the property felt it was an infringement on his personal rights, so be it and it looks like the flier needs to buy a new damn drone and take care not to idle it over any more properties.

  20. If a drone lands on your private property,is it legally yours at that point? Possesion is nine-tenths of the law. If so I’d forgo shooting down the craft to avoid weapons charges, but instead I’ll use my done interceptor and bring it down. When the owner comes looking for it… “i have no idea what your taking about” lol

  21. The first thing that came to my mind when reading this is the drone was committing aerial trespassing. When I worked for the Time Warner Cable, we could not run a line from the telephone pole to someones house if the line would cross over the neighbors property. In cases like this the line would have to follow the streets line until it went to the customers property and then it would turn towards the customers house. It is called a mid-span. The owners were definitely committing aerial trespassing and the dad was within his rights to shoot down the drone.

  22. yanks and their guns, don’t know whether to laugh or cry

    don’t waste time discussing banning guns, just BAN AMMUNITION IMMEDIATELY, that’ll sort things out
    oh and ban the nra as a terrorist group (which they are)

  23. we have this kid in our neibourhood who builds drones in his garage, we have roughly 11 guns, 10 daggers and 1 katana i think we’re set if this clown tries anything. im pretty sure he had every right to disable and confiscate this drone especailly if the guy was intenionally getting some shots at the girls. a witness will be all you need

  24. Look in my opinion using my own states extremely twisted laws that i’m stuck with until further notice I’v formed the following statement. For reasons stated as … reasons. I will break it into numbered points.

    I: The given range, while in his legal airspace, is a difficult shot for any shotgun using skeet or even turkey loads. Granted my only experience in the field comes from duck hunting with a 12 gauge mossberg, and neither myself nor my hunting partner ever even try to take anything down when it’s above ruffly 100 ft. It’s very difficult to take a bird down at that range unless you happen to hit a very unprotected patch of flesh, and the individual pellets start to loose or have already lost a chunk of their velocity by the time they reach that height, and that’s only when firing strait up. It’s because of this that I believe the drone was MUCH closer to their house. Although considering a drone has less “Shellproofing” than a duck or Canadian goose does I imagine a slightly higher effective range could be given to a basic shotgun in this case.
    II: The fact that the discharge of the firearms is almost entirely irrelevant. The police would have been called and the drone taken down if he had the equipment and skill to crash it out of the sky with his own RC aircraft, for example. IMO if he gets a chance to make a reasonable move to a more lenient state regarding a firearm discharge he should, as that law is simply ridiculous. The odds are so slim that the pellets will come back down and kill/injure someone are so slim that they can be essentially/almost completely disregarded.
    III: The difference between a drone with a camera and a creeper next door with a telescoping lens is that one of of those problems can be “removed” with relative ease, and the other is an even larger legal and potentially lethal ( should situations and tensions escalate )than than one is. Nobody want’s pictures of their girls on the deep web ( for example ) if they can avoid it, and removing a camera operating drone is one way to help mitigate that problem. Then again with camera’s so small they can fit in an…oversized cell phone…these days it’s very difficult to tell from a distance if the drone is carrying one or not, some of which have them built into the machine itself.
    IV: As a trained private security officer for a port frequented by maersk containers I prefer to take the stance of “Let’s not risk it” when it comes to decisions like these, and probably would have taken it down myself. as nobody around here actually calls the police.


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