According to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, a Pescadero man was arrested on Sunday following an altercation during which he fired his shotgun at a drone that he believed flew illegally over his property. Under federal law shooting at a drone or manned aircraft is illegal.
Pescadero man arrested after shooting at a drone
The Sheriff's Office said that the drone incident took place at around 4:50 p.m. in the 5000 block of Cloverdale Road. After shooting at the drone, the suspect, identified as 42-year-old David Stariha, confronted the drone pilot, who was accompanied by two other adults and two juveniles, by allegedly pointing the shotgun at the group, reports Climate RWC. The suspect punched one of the members of the group during the dispute.
After the confrontation, the group contacted the Sheriff's Office, which used a novel way of approaching the suspect. First, a drone from the Sheriff's Office was used by deputies to surveil the suspect's property. He was then contacted over the vehicle's PA system. According to officials, Stariha surrendered without incident and was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on charges including the willful discharge of a firearm into an inhabited dwelling or motor vehicle, assault, and threatening a minor. The shotgun and ammunition were seized during the arrest.
“Drones are becoming more and more prevalent in all areas of the County,” the sheriff's office said. “If you have a question or concern about the use of a drone near your home, do not take matters into your own hands. Use a recording device to document the incident and contact your local Law Enforcement agency for assistance.Anyone who has information regarding this incident may call the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Anonymous Tip Line at 1-800-547-2700.”
Shooting at a drone is a federal crime
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 being shot at. However, we have yet to see anybody being prosecuted under federal law for any of these offenses.
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