Drone Drama: Florida Man Faces 10 Years for Shooting Down Sheriff’s Drone

Estimated read time 2 min read

In a recent event that has garnered attention, Wendell Goney, 50, from Eustis, Florida, found himself under arrest. His crime? Shooting down a Lake County Sheriff’s Office drone that was in active duty, investigating a potential burglary.

On that fateful day, deputies had reportedly launched the drone to inspect the nearby lots. Much to their surprise, a bullet shot down their drone. Wendell Goney, who resides close to the scene, was the person behind the trigger.

Why Would Someone Shoot a Drone?

Kevin Hale, a renowned drone expert from DLSRPros, provided some insight. “Oftentimes people in rural areas discharging firearms at drones is not new. This has been happening for a while,” he explained. This might make one wonder about the legalities surrounding such an action.

Lawrence Walters, an attorney, clarified, “Airspace is considered to be a public thoroughfare just like a street. Individuals have the right to fly drones in airspace, as long as they’re not conducting surveillance or violating someone’s reasonable expectation of privacy.”

In his defense, Goney shared that he felt the drone was harassing him, which prompted him to act. “I heard the drone flying and thought it was trying to harass me,” he said, recalling the moment he took his rifle and fired at the airborne device.

The Aftermath of the Incident

But the repercussions for Goney were serious. Besides the immediate arrest, it was revealed that he had prior convictions. This act added to his criminal record, with charges including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and other related offenses.

Regarding the drone, Hale remarked, “It could cost Lake County hundreds to thousands of dollars to repair the damage, though sometimes it’s under warranty.” He also vouched for the Lake County team, “We’ve worked with them in the past. Great group of guys, they’re responsible operators.”

Drones have become an essential tool for law enforcement, and their protection is paramount. Drone incidents like these serve as a reminder of the delicate balance between technology, law, and individual rights. With increasing reliance on such devices, understanding and respecting their presence becomes crucial for all.

Shooting down an aircraft is a federal crime, whether it is a manned or unmanned aircraft. Over the last few years, we have seen a number of cases in which a drone was shot at.

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