Florida man arrested for shooting at drone

CLERMONT, Florida, USA – A Florida man has been arrested after he allegedly shot a Walmart delivery drone in Lake County, rendering it inoperable, deputies said.

Dennis Winn, 72, faces charges of shooting or throwing a deadly missile into dwellings, vessels, or vehicles, criminal mischief above $1,000, and discharging a firearm in public or on residential property, records show.

Deputies were called to Walmart at 1450 Johns Lake Road in Clermont this Wednesday after drone delivery representatives reported the incident.

According to Winn’s arrest affidavit, a two-man DroneUp crew was at a delivery point in The Overlook at Lake Lousia neighbourhood when the shooting occurred.

The men were there on a community awareness campaign to demonstrate how their company would be working with retailer Walmart to bring the option of grocery and parcel delivery by drone to the local community.

To be included in the demonstration was a live flight by a drone, to be deployed as a proof-of-concept mock delivery from the Walmart store to where the campaign was taking place.

The drone arrived duly on time, and was around 230 feet in the air when it arrived, before descending to around 75 feet.

Dennis Winn

It was at this point that one of the campaigners heard what they thought was a gunshot.

“On June 26, 2024, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint in the Clermont area regarding a Walmart delivery drone being shot,” The Clermont County Sheriff Department said.

“A bullet hole was discovered in the payload the drone was carrying. Witnesses identified the defendant, Dennis Winn, and directed deputies to his residence, the incident location.

“Contact was made with the defendant at his residence, where a Miranda interview was conducted. Post-Miranda, the suspect admitted to shooting at the drone once with a 9mm pistol. He was taken into custody and charged with Shooting at an aircraft, Criminal mischief damage over $1,000, and Discharging a firearm in public or residential property.”

The crew returned to Walmart and had the drone fly back to the store. Deputies said that after inspecting the drone, the company reps discovered $2,500 worth of damage to its payload system.

On questioning by deputies, Winn is reported to have admitted to shooting the drone, explaining to the lawmen that he saw the drone fly over his home, prompting him to retrieve his gun to fire at it, according to an affidavit.

Winn said he had experiences with drones flying over his home and believed it was watching him.


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