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Spooked Neighbor Shoots Drone Out of the Sky As It Performed Legal Surveillance for Construction Company

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"Somebody ... thought they were spying, so the neighbor came out and shot it down."

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A drone that was legally flying above a neighborhood in Edmond, Oklahoma, was shot down out of the sky by a spooked neighbor in a case that highlights growing concerns over proper drone usage and protocol.

The drone in question was shot down above the 23000 block of Lauren Lane in Edmond on Wednesday, according to KOKH-TV. The drone, which had been soaring legally above the neighborhood, was reportedly being used by a construction company as a tool to aid in its inspection of the gutters for one of the homes. But not all of the neighbors knew about the authorized flight, and questions and suspicions were raised after a woman in a nearby home caught sight of the drone.

"We were told that the person operating the drone was doing it for work. I believe he was surveying the house, possibly the gutters, they were doing some work on the home," spokesperson Mark Opgrande for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office told  KOKH. "Somebody thought that they didn't know why the drone was there, thought they were spying, so the neighbor came out and shot it down."

According to Opgrande, the numbers of legal drones being used in the U.S. are increasing to such levels that new considerations must be dealt with concerning how best to inform residents of nearby drones' whereabouts and purposes.

"Drones are very hot now. You can buy all different types and kinds of drones nowadays and people fly them for all kinds of reasons," Opgrande told KOKH. "If you're going to be flying a drone and it happens to be in a neighborhood and you're there because you're working, let people know. As much as you can, let the people around there know, hey I'm going to be flying my drone around."

The ethics of drone usage have become hot topics in the U.S. — especially after a recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the Pentagon authorized drone deployments across the U.S. for non-military missions all throughout the past decade.

"Sometimes, new technology changes so rapidly that existing law no longer fit what people think are appropriate," Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, had told USA Today in early March when the FOIA documents first became public. "It’s important to remember that the American people do find this to be a very, very sensitive topic."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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