They dropped flares while flying near the Cessna which was in restricted airspace. Flares were not "fired at the plane".
LOL! My first thought was “let’s rewrite this to what it would be if the witness/reporter had a clue” but I see that it’s already been done. :-)
I had the same comment. The media are such morons.
Can't argue with that. But I think it more likely that somebody in the public has mistaken TRACERS for flares.
What could that do? If the F-18 itself isn't enough to get your attention, is a pilot going to fly slow and open and put the target into his own 6 O'clock to drop a flare that can be seen? I don't think so. Tracers across the nose is the universal "Hey! Look over here!" signal.