A man armed with a long barreled rifle and a stockpile of other weapons and ammunition forced the evacuation of multiple homes in the Brandon area as a SWAT team converged around the house with snipers and armored vehicles.
Barry Engh, 53, was outside his house at 509 Larry Circle firing as many as 20 rounds into the neighborhood, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.
"I'm glad I didn't get shot," said Skip Lujack, who lives near Engh and said they often walked their dogs together. "I heard there was a sharpshooter on the top of our roof."
Deputies tried negotiating with Engh, but they said he refused to come outside and appeared to be drunk.
The SWAT unit fired several canisters of tear gas into the house, but Engh still didn't surrender. Deputies then carefully approached the front of the house and were able to apprehend him without incident.
Still, the Sheriff said Engh nearly shot one of his deputies.
"When he fired at the bushes, the bullet came through the bushes and went right by his head," Gee said, noting that his deputies showed remarkable restraint in not opening fire on the suspect.
"This guy could have easily justifiably been killed," the Sheriff said.
Gee said that Engh even demanded that deputies shoot him, as if he wanted to commit 'suicide by cop.'
Engh was placed in an ambulance and was treated for tear gas inhalation. Deputies said he was loaded with bullets.
"As they were taking him out of the front, high capacity magazines were falling out of his pants," Gee said. "He was ready for battle."
A close friend of Engh who showed up at the scene but asked not to be identified said the man had recently gone through several personal struggles. Engh's sister recently died as well as a good friend, he said. The friend also said that Engh had fallen off a recovery program for alcohol abuse.
Neighbors in the area were kept away from their homes for hours during the standoff.
Tania Cleckler, who snapped pictures of the SWAT team as it marched by her house, said she was about to take her kids for a walk down Larry Circle just before Engh allegedly started shooting.
"There are kids always riding up and down and today we were going to take that walk," Cleckler said. "Thank God we didn't. It's just amazing no kids were hurt."
Sheriff Gee said they will evaluate the incident and determine what charges will be filed against Engh, but he suspected there will be several felonies, including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
"I'm proud of how our guys performed today," Gee said.
Engh was charged with assault on an officer and discharging a firearm in public.