A District man was cited by police Friday for flying a small drone near the Washington Monument and landing it on the Ellipse, adjacent to the White House, authorities said.
Sgt. Anna Rose, a U.S. Park Police spokeswoman, said the incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. Friday. She said police seized the 6-by-6-inch drone and issued a criminal citation to the man, identified as Howard Solomon III of the District. His age was not provided.
Authorities initially said two people were cited, but a later statement lists only one person as being charged. Solomon was not arrested but will have to appear in court. The fine is $85.
Rose said there is “no indication of anything nefarious” on the part of Solomon.
She added that Solomon was spotted near the Washington Monument with a controller in his hand. A statement says the drone — described as an F182 6 Axis Quadcopter — crash-landed on the Ellipse and was retrieved by Secret Service agents. The drone sells on the Internet for between $40 and $80.
The Park Police said it was the ninth time that an unmanned aircraft had been flown in a national park in the Washington area this year and the 26th since 2013.
Rose said the Park Police is planning a public relations push to make sure people are aware of airspace that is off-limits to drones.
“In an effort to deter drone usage, we’re partnering with the FAA and we’re launching a campaign. We’ll be posting signs to various parks,” Rose said.
In May, Secret Service officers stopped a person who was flying a small drone over Lafayette Square, in front of the White House. In January, a recreational operator accidentally crashed a small drone on the White House grounds, triggering a lockdown of the White House.
And on Thursday, the Florida postal worker who landed a gyrocopter on the Mall in April rejected an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty. He had flown the device from Gettysburg, Pa., to the District, saying he was delivering letters to Congress.
The Federal Aviation Administration says that all airspace within 15 miles of Reagan National Airport is considered a “no-drone zone.”
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.