Earlier this month, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida released a statement that Wendell Doyle Goney, aged 52 and residing in Mount Dora, has entered a guilty plea for illegally possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. Goney potentially faces a maximum 10-year federal prison sentence. A date for sentencing remains pending.
Per the plea agreement’s terms, on July 11, 2021, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office dispatched deputies to investigate a burglary at a 10-acre business property in Mount Dora. While law enforcement employed a drone for an outdoor search, it was unexpectedly destroyed by gunfire from an adjacent property. Deputies promptly responded to the neighboring property, where they encountered Goney. He confessed to shooting down the drone using a .22 caliber rifle, citing harassment as his motivation. During this encounter, Goney acknowledged that his status as a convicted felon legally barred him from possessing a firearm.
Goney’s previous felony convictions, dating back to 1995, include offenses such as burglary, grand theft, battery, and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, as detailed in his plea agreement. This document also notes that he has served multiple sentences in state prisons.
According to court records, on July 11, 2021, gunfire from Goney resulted in the Lake County Sheriff’s Office drone losing control and crashing into the roof of a nearby building in Mount Dora. As outlined in the plea agreement, the DJI Matrice M300 drone, with an approximate value of $30,000, was used to search for potential burglary suspects before Goney shot it out of the sky.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr, is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). This program brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and make our neighborhoods safer. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. (Press Release)
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