Man grabs pistol, joins deputy in gunfire exchange with suspect

Morgan Miguel Garcia

ZOLFO SPRINGS, Fla. — A gunfight between a Florida deputy and suspect took on an added wrinkle when the father of an intended victim joined in, firing his pistol at the alleged assailant.

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According to a Facebook post on March 20, the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Morgan Miguel Garcia, 29, of Zolfo Springs, According to Hardee County online court records, Garcia was 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, violating a condition of pretrial release, discharging a firearm in a residential area, and criminal mischief.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were called to a home south of Zolfo Springs on March 19 at about 9:40 p.m. EDT to investigate a report of a delayed domestic battery incident, WTVT reported.

Garcia was allegedly involved in an incident and had violated a no-contact order, according to the television station. Deputies arriving at the residence discovered Garcia in the backyard of the residence armed with an AR-15 that was owned by the victim’s father, WTSP-TV reported.

“The deputy ordered Garcia to drop his weapon, but he did not comply,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Instead, Garcia took cover and began firing shots towards the deputy.”

At that point, the victim’s father, “fearing for his family’s lives,” retrieved his 9mm handgun and returned fire along with the deputy, the Miami Herald reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, Garcia fired into the door of the home and attempted to gain access, where family members were taking cover. Failing to break through the door, Garcia allegedly broke a window with the butt end of the AR-15.

Garcia then fled the area on foot.

Deputies and law enforcement agencies from several counties attempted to locate Garcia but suspended the search at about 8:30 a.m. EDT on March 20, WTSP reported.

Officials received a tip several hours later and Garcia was captured “without incident” at an undisclosed location, according to the Herald.

“I am grateful to have reached a peaceful ending to this volatile situation,” Hardee County Sheriff Vent Crawford said in a statement.