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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky man who shot down a drone flying over his property was cleared of all charges.
In July, William Merideth was inside his home when his daughters told him about a drone flying over their neighbor’s property.
Merideth says he grabbed his shotgun, but wasn’t planning on firing at the drone unless it came onto his property.
“Within a minute or so, here it comes,” he said. “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.”
“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 (sic) directly over our heads, and just hovered there, I felt like I had the right,” he added.
Merideth says he has an open carry permit, but was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief.
Authorities say there is a city ordinance that bans the use of firearms within city limits.
“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.
On Monday afternoon, a judge agreed.
The judge dismissed the case against Merideth.
“I think it’s credible testimony that his drone was hovering from anywhere, for two or three times over these people’s property, that it was an invasion of their privacy and that they had the right to shoot this drone,” Judge Rebecca Ward said.
The drone’s owner was stunned by the ruling. He said the drone was flying over 100 feet in the air and was not trying to spy on anyone.
The owner says he plans to appeal the ruling.
Merideth says he feels vindicated by the judge’s decision.
“Police told me there was nothing they could do about it. Nobody would do anything about it, so I did something about it,” he told WAVE 3. “I was being watched. It was an invasion of privacy and I just, I wouldn’t of put up with it no more.”