De Luz couple say man threatened them for flying a drone, claimed to be officer

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Valley News/Courtesy photo

Encounter partially caught on video

It was decidedly not the way Shaunna and Dave Jengo had planned to spend their Saturday morning.

The De Luz residents had spent the morning, July 11, driving through the area to find places for Dave to fly his drone, something the pair said they do often.

It was at first a typical, uneventful Sunday adventure. They found an area off Avenida Tierra, on the Riverside County side of De Luz – the Jengos live in San Diego County – where they stopped so Dave could fly his drone for what Shaunna estimated was “about three minutes” before leaving.

What the pair wasn’t expecting was to be chased down by an angry property owner in a pickup truck – an encounter they filmed and posted to YouTube.

In the video, he can be seen pulling his pickup onto the wrong side of the road to confront the Jengos.

The Jengos said they are very careful not to impose on anyone’s property while Dave Jengo is flying his drone, and while they have had the occasional resident complain, they said they make sure to respect all property boundaries and have usually been able to defuse tensions.

“We live out here and we understand privacy laws and issues and my husband is very, very careful not to invade anybody’s property,” Shaunna Jengo said. “He doesn’t want to spook horses or do anything untoward and dangerous.”

However, Shaunna Jengo said that was something they could not get the man in the video to understand.

He can be heard repeatedly telling the Jengos to pull over and get out of their vehicle.

The Jengos said the man threatened to shoot their drone down, though he can’t be heard clearly saying it on the video.

What can be heard clearly is:

“I can shoot my (expletive gun) out here, every (expletive) minute on my ranch,” the man said.

Shaunna Jengo said via telephone July 19 that the encounter left her “terrified” and “shaken.”

“Sir, you’re scaring me,” Shaunna Jengo, who was driving the entire time, can be heard speaking in the video.

Shaunna Jengo said the man claimed to be an active law enforcement officer during the encounter, though that’s also not something that can be heard on the video.

“He tried to intimidate us into complying with unlawful orders by posing as a current law officer,” Shaunna Jengo said.

After the part of the encounter caught on the video, the Jengos said they drove to Temecula, where they flagged down a police officer.

But the response from the police officer was not what they were expecting.

Shaunna Jengo said, the deputy told her “that I put (my husband) and the truck driver in a dangerous situation. I felt chastised.”

Shaunna Jengo said the deputy told her the man had committed no crime.

“(The deputy) told us the man said his neighbor said our drone was bothering his horses,” Shaunna Jengo said. “That’s not true.”

Valley News is not naming the alleged assailant, as attempts to reach him before the press deadline were unsuccessful and he has not been charged with a crime.

Still, the Jengos said they thought the man deserved to be arrested and criticized the sheriff’s department’s response.

“We did file a complaint on Saturday,” Dave Jengo said by telephone Monday, July 27.

Asked for information on what had taken place during the encounter, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department representative Cpl. Lionel Murphy offered the following statement, July 27, a week after Valley News reached out: “I did have an opportunity to speak with a shift sergeant at the station and learned that based on the circumstances listed in the call for service, no crime had been committed. A report documenting the details of the incident is being written by the investigating deputy. At this time, that is all the information I have available.”

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.