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Crime & Courts

Valrico man fires assault-style rifle at deputies, authorities say

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 05:48 PM

It wasn't a good sign when the man answered the door with a pit bull in tow. The situation went downhill from there.

Allen Harmeyer emptied a 30-round magazine from an assault-style rifle at Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies Friday morning, deputies said. He didn't hit anyone but shot up two squad cars badly, causing an estimated $5,000 in damage, according to the sheriff's office.

"We're lucky no one got hurt or killed with that many bullets flying in the air," sheriff's office spokesman Larry McKinnon said.

The incident began about 1 a.m. when a woman who lives with Harmeyer called in a domestic violence complaint. When deputies arrived, they met the woman in the front yard; she told them her boyfriend had weapons.

Deputies went to the house and knocked. When the door opened, Harmeyer was holding onto the collar of a pit bull, McKinnon said.

The deputies drew their Tasers. Harmeyer, McKinnon said, told deputies, "'I got something for that if you all don't get off my property,'" McKinnon said.

By that time, a total of five deputies had arrived at the house. By the time Harmeyer went back inside and came back out with the rifle, all the deputies had retreated from the front door, McKinnon said.

Harmeyer fired about 30 times, McKinnon said. He said one deputy exchanged gunshots with Harmeyer, firing three to four rounds and forcing Harmeyer to retreat. The deputy's rounds didn't hit anyone, McKinnon said.

After a few minutes, Harmeyer surrendered.

Harmeyer, 45, was charged with one count of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, five counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of domestic violence battery. He was being held in a Hillsborough County jail with no bail, according to jail records.

While searching the home, deputies found the rifle, about 1,000 rounds of ammunition and several other firearms, McKinnon said.

During a shooting, deputies focus on the moment and rely on their training and instinct, McKinnon said.

"It isn't until it's over that you grasp what you have been through," McKinnon said. "At the time, you don't have time to analyze. If you wait and try to analyze, you could end up dead."

Before Friday, the sheriff's office had responded to the home, located at 4110 Silver Pond Lane, nine times over the years. The calls included battery, assault or battery, noise complaint and neighbor trouble, according to the sheriff's office.


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