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Dad grabs pistol and joins deputy’s gunfight with suspect in yard, Florida cops say

An old-fashioned gunfight erupted outside a Florida home when a fearless dad grabbed his pistol and joined a deputy exchanging gunfire with a suspect in the yard, investigators say.

It happened around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, near Zolfo Springs, and began as a case of domestic battery by a man identified as Morgan Miguel Garcia, who was accused of violating a restraining order, the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Zolfo Springs is about a 75-mile drive southeast of Tampa.

None of the people in the home were hit by gunfire, but the 29-year-old managed to escape in the dark, officials said.

“The deputy encountered Garcia in the back yard of the wooded property … armed with an AR-15,” the sheriff’s office reports.

“The deputy ordered Garcia to drop his weapon, but he did not comply. Instead Garcia took cover and began firing shots towards the deputy. The deputy returned fire with his agency-issued rifle. … The victim’s father, fearing for his family’s lives, retrieved his 9mm handgun and returned fire.”

It was during the exchange of shots that the deputy observed Garcia fire multiple times at the home’s door in an attempt to reach family members taking cover inside.

“When unsuccessful at breaching the door to the residence he broke through a window with the butt end of the AR15. Garcia then fled on foot and the deputy lost visual,” officials said.

The people in the home were evacuated and a search continued through the night for the “armed and dangerous” suspect.

He was finally captured “without incident” Wednesday afternoon, when a tip led deputies to a home at an undisclosed location.

Garcia has been charged with “aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, shooting into a building, aggravated assault with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, attempted burglary while armed with a firearm, burglary with assault or battery, aggravated stalking, violate condition of pretrial release, discharging a firearm in a residential area, and criminal mischief.”

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