The PJ Tatler

PULL! Man Shoots Down Neighbor's Drone with a Shotgun

This might be something on my bucket list.

On November 28, 2014, Eric Joe was flying his drone hexacopter at his parents’ house when he heard a loud bang. The bang was the unmistakeable sound of a 12 gauge shotgun.

“When I went out to go find it, I saw him come out shotgun-in-hand,” Joe said by phone on Thursday. The man found himself face-to-face with his parents’ neighbor, Brett McBay.

“I asked: ‘Did you shoot that thing?’ He said, ‘Yeah, did we get it?’”

Joe claimed that McBay said: “I thought it was a CIA surveillance device.” No matter the reason, the drone pilot wanted to resolve this encounter quickly and civilly (“I didn’t want to get argumentative with a guy with a shotgun,” Joe said). He went back inside and inspected the aircraft. It wouldn’t be flying again.

And then an email discussion ensued.

You can read the email exchange here.

Earlier this year, Joe filed a case in small claims court for his damaged drone and the court found in his favor.  “Court finds that Mr. McBay acted unreasonably in having his son shoot the drone down regardless of whether it was over his property or not.”

McBay has not yet paid the $850 ordered by the court. Joe says they will pursue further legal action to get the judgement.

“We don’t believe that the drone was over McBay’s property—we maintain that it was briefly over the shared county access road,” said Jesse Woo, Joe’s cousin and attorney. “But even if it did, you’re only privileged to use reasonable force in defense of property. Shooting a shotgun at this thing that isn’t threatening your property isn’t reasonable.”