Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

'Can this be legal?' YouTube host fires submachine gun from plane into gulf (w/video)

TAMPA — Two men and a woman take turns poking a fully automatic submachine gun out the slightly open window of a small plane in flight.

They open fire toward the Gulf of Mexico below.

The whole thing was videotaped, edited and posted to the YouTube channel, Do It With Dan.

"What are the legalities of this," asked Dan, the host, as they walk toward a single-engine plane at Peter O. Knight airport for their flight.

Tampa gun maker Mark Serbu, 55, holding a camouflage backpack with the gun barrel sticking out, answers, "I didn't really ask. I'm assuming it's okay."

The Tampa Police Department agreed with Serbu on Monday, but only after taking the matter under advisement. Law enforcement agencies were alerted to the video by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, owners and operators of Peter O. Knight.

The Federal Aviation Administration also is investigating, but would not elaborate Monday.

A lawyer specializing in aviation issues, Guy Haggard of Orlando, said it wouldn't surprise him if the FAA follows the lead of Tampa police.

"People use helicopters for things like hog hunts," Haggard said. "In Florida, you can shoot guns from the sky in some situations."

And under FAA regulations, Haggard said, it is legal to drop an object from an aircraft as long as reasonable precautions are taken to prohibit injuries.

Bullets could be defended as "dropping objects," Haggard said.

WATCH: Video shows gun being shot from plane

The YouTube video includes a slide that says the trio flew for hours to a "safe location" before pulling out what they call a "machine gun." Serbu, the pilot and the owner of Serbu Firearms in Town 'N Country, identified the gun to the Tampa Bay Times as a fully automatic, Heckler & Koch MP5 9 mm submachine gun.

Since no one called law enforcement to complain about gunfire, it appears no one was put at risk, said Tampa police spokesman Stephen Hegarty.

Serbu told the Times he circled the Gulf of Mexico between Clearwater and Tarpon Springs for more than an hour before settling on a safe spot a couple miles from shore at an altitude of about 3,000 feet.

Until the Times contacted him Monday, Serbu said he didn't know the video had drawn the attention of authorities.

"There was no one close to us, no one for at least 10 miles," he said.

"We did everything safe. I had my daughter with us."

Valerie Serbu, 22, is the third person on the plane.

The trip was the idea of the show's host — a man identified on YouTube as Dan who says he's 24 and from Atlanta but wouldn't give the Times his last name. His channel specializes in videos of motorcycle and firearms stunts and has over 800,000 subscribers.

"He just thought it would be fun to shoot guns into the water from a plane," Serbu said with a chuckle.

Some of Dan's viewers had negative things to say in the YouTube comments section, so he took the video down last week — but not before someone copied it to send law enforcement. Dan put the video back online Monday afternoon.

Neither Serbu nor Dan could remember the date of the flight. Police learned from personnel at Peter O. Knight that they flew out of the Davis Islands airport Feb. 21.

In 2013, Serbu made national headlines by refusing to sell semi-automatic, .50-caliber rifles to the New York City Police Department because he disagreed with the NY SAFE ACT that classifies the weapon as an assault rifle, banning it from use by the public.

Serbu planned on selling shirts with the image of the Soup Nazi from the Seinfeld sitcom and the words, "Hey NY-Gov ... No Serb For You" — a play on the character's "No soup for you" catchphrase.

Actor Larry Thomas, who portrayed the Soup Nazi, demanded his likeness be removed so Serbu replaced it with one of him.

"Looks like I did it again," Serbu said with another chuckle Monday.

Near the end of the video, host Dan says shooting a gun out of a plane "might be the most American thing" he's ever done.

The video concludes with a teaser for another of his YouTube feats — firing off flamethrowers in his front yard.

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

 
Comments

School board member is ‘dumbfounded’ by Times report on Hillsborough substitute teachers

By Marlene SokolTimes Staff WriterTAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District should reconsider how it hires substitute teachers, and that conversation should happen publicly, School Board member Lynn Gray said Tuesday.Responding to a a Tampa Bay...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Fake Twitter account claims Florida lottery winner will pay for retweets

Fake Twitter account claims Florida lottery winner will pay for retweets

Plenty of us daydreamed about what they would do if they scored a $451 million Mega Millions jackpot, as 20-year-old Shane Missler did last week.That curiosity was heightened after a Twitter account, purportedly belonging to Missler, touted that he w...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

The Dow Jones industrial average blew past 26,000 Tuesday for the first time ever, coming only a week after hitting 25,000 and showing further evidence that the long-running bull market is alive and well."There are several reasons for markets to melt...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Captain credited with smart, fast decisions in Port Richey casino boat fire

Captain credited with smart, fast decisions in Port Richey casino boat fire

By HOWARD ALTMAN Times Staff Writer PORT RICHEY — Michael Batten, the captain of the casino shuttle boat that caught fire Sunday afternoon, made smart, fast decisions that saved lives, according to a spokeswoman for the boat’s owner.Batten, captain o...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Why ‘Phantom Thread’ is a bad fit as Daniel Day-Lewis’ final movie

Why ‘Phantom Thread’ is a bad fit as Daniel Day-Lewis’ final movie

BY STEVE PERSALLTimes Movie CriticPaul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is passionless window-shop cinema, each static tableau lovingly arranged for display and easy dusting. Its centerpiece is a mannequin, albeit played by Daniel Day-Lewis, whose gi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gator and python battle it out on Florida golf course

Gator and python battle it out on Florida golf course

It was gator vs. python on a Florida golf course recently.The gator was victorious, though the creature sat still for hours — with the python’s head in its jaws — as golfers took photos of the encounter. Photos of the bout have gone viral on social m...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Italian Butterfingers? Nestle selling candy business for $2.9B

Associated PressNEW YORK — Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $2.9 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Ner...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Shareholder fights between activist investors and publicly traded companies are getting nastier, especially in some industries, and a lot of them don’t involve corporate giants like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.In 2015, according to Raymond Ja...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Here’s the backstory of the Pasco casino boat operator whose ship caught on fire

By Zachary T. SampsonTimes Staff WriterLong before a shuttle ship from Tropical Breeze Casino caught fire Sunday off the coast of Port Richey, leaving one passenger dead, the company behind the operation was a source of controversy.The casino operato...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

Tampa judge denies ‘stand your ground’ claim in Lyfe Coleman murder case

BY DAN SULLIVANTimes Staff WriterTAMPA — A judge has declined to grant immunity to Reginald Bowman, the man who admitted last month that he fatally shot 18-year-old Lyfe Coleman and invoked the state’s "stand your ground" law to argue it was self-def...
Updated: 2 hours ago