A Minnesota man is facing two felony charges for shooting down a drone, The Free Press reports.
The incident began when an unnamed man flew a drone over Butterfield Foods, a producer of meat products—including chicken—in the Southern Minnesota town of Butterfield. The man later told a sheriff’s deputy he was trying to prove that chickens were being slaughtered because of the pandemic.
Two employees approached the man and asked him what he was doing. Soon afterwards, someone else shot the drone out of the sky. The man says his drone cost $1,900.
The authorities arrested 34-year-old Travis Duane Winters and charged him in Watonwan County District Court, The Free Press says. Officials say Winters admitted to shooting the drone. He faces charges of criminal damage to property and reckless discharge of a weapon within city limits.
This is not the first time someone has shot down a drone. We reported on several such shootings in 2016 and 2017. In one case, a man sued a neighbor who shot his drone when it flew over the neighbor’s land. A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit on procedural grounds, finding that it should have been filed in state, not federal, courts.
The Federal Aviation Administration has said that shooting down a drone is illegal under the same federal aviation laws that make it illegal to shoot down a crewed aircraft. But we don’t know of any cases of people being prosecuted under those laws.