DroneXL.co | Drone news, DJI rumors, specs DJI Mavic 3 other UAS
Felon with 29 prior convictions who shot down police drone with illegal firearm will be prosecuted

Felon with 29 prior convictions who shot down police drone with illegal firearm will be prosecuted

Earlier this summer a felon with 29 prior convictions shot down a police drone with an illegal firearm in Florida. A federal grand jury has indicted the man for shooting down an unmanned aircraft, and the United States Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida announced that he will in fact be prosecuted. If convicted the man could face up to 30 years in prison. This is the first time a person is being prosecuted for shooting down an unmanned aircraft.

Felon with 29 prior convictions who shot down police drone with illegal firearm will be prosecuted

On July 11, 2021, deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglary at a 10-acre business property in Mount Dora, court documents show.

To assist with a search mission, the deputies launched a police drone. The unmanned aircraft was shot down by gunfire from a neighboring property shortly after taking off.

The deputies responded to the location from which the gunfire originated and confronted Goney. He acknowledged that he used his .22 caliber rifle to shoot down the police drone. The man said that drones had been ‘harassing’ him.

The man admitted to the deputies that he could not legally possess a firearm since he has 29 prior felony convictions in Florida. Under federal law, convicted felons are prohibited to possess firearms and ammunition, plane-lyspoken reports.

Goney has been indicted by a federal grand jury and the United States Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida said that he will in fact be prosecuted. If convicted the man could face up to 30 years in prison. This is the first time anybody is being prosecuted for shooting down a drone, even though there have been many more situations where drones have either been shot at or shot down.

Why will this man be prosecuted when others weren’t?

Why would somebody be prosecuted for shooting down an unmanned aircraft and possibly face up to 30 years in prison?

Well, obviously the 29 prior convictions don’t help, nor does Goney’s possession of an illegal firearm. However, shooting down a drone equates to shooting down a manned aircraft according to federal law.

Plane-lyspoken explains how this is possible:

In 1956, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 32(a)(1), which made it a felony to “willfully . . . destroy, disable or wreck any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States . . . .” The “special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States” is defined in 49 U.S.C. § 46501(2) as including “a civil aircraft of the United States . . . .” A “civil aircraft of the United States” is defined under 49 U.S.C. § 40102(17) as “an aircraft registered under chapter 441 of this title.” The requirements for drone registration contained in 14 C.F.R. part 48 were, in turn, promulgated pursuant to 49 U.S.C. part 441. As a result, if we drill all the way down to the bottom of this chain of definitions, there is little doubt that, although the statute regarding destruction of an aircraft was originally intended to apply to manned aircraft, it also applies to all but a few unmanned aircraft which are not registered.

So while there have been instances in the past where drones had been shot at and nobody was prosecuted, Goney’s situation as a felon with 29 prior convictions and using an illegal firearm to shoot a police drone out of the sky, is clearly different. We will follow this case closely and report on it here on DroneXL.

A little more than one year ago, in Killeen, Texas, another police drone was shot at. And in May of 2020, a drone in Minnesota was shot down.

What do you think about people shooting down drones? Should they be prosecuted and face punishment? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Felon with 29 prior convictions who shot down police drone with illegal firearm will be prosecuted

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute part 107 course dronexl

Stay in touch!

If you’d like to stay up to date with all the latest drone news, scoops, rumors, and reviews follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or… Subscribe to our Daily Drone News email.*

FTC: DroneXL.co uses affiliate links that generate income. * We do not sell, share, rent out or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.

Facebook Comments

Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews. Haye is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Well, electronically speaking a drone is an extension to my eyes. Shooting my drone out of the sky is the same as shooting me in the head that house my eyes. So yes, they should be prosecuted and do jail time if warranted.

Advertisement

  • ;