Suspects ‘Were Willing to Shoot It Out with a Cop,” Sheriff Says
Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies captured two North Carolina fugitives in Treasure Island.
TREASURE ISLAND – Two fugitives wanted for shooting at deputies in North Carolina were captured in Treasure Island, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Donald “Alfred” Billings, 50, of Sparta, NC, was arrested on warrants out of Alleghany County, NC, on charges of one count of attempted first degree murder on law enforcement, one count of felony conspiracy
to commit first degree murder on law enforcement, and possession of firearm by felon.
Alton Smoot, 26, of Thurman, NC, was arrested on warrants out of Alleghany County for one count of attempted first degree murder on law enforcement, one count of felony conspiracy to commit first degree murder on law enforcement, one count of aggravated assault with gun, one count of aggravated assault with a weapon, and one count of fleeing and eluding law enforcement.
According to deputies, about 11:35 p.m. Aug. 11, Alleghany County sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina, tried making a traffic stop on a 2001 Toyota Tundra truck registered to Billings.
The truck fled and deputies pursued the vehicle. Alleghany deputies said that Billings and Smoot shot at deputies from the truck using a handgun and an AR-15 rifle.
Deputies stopped pursing the vehicle. No deputies were injured.
Alleghany deputies say Billings later abandoned the truck and stole a Chevrolet Tahoe.
The Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office issued arrest warrants for Billings and Smoot.
On Friday (Aug. 17), members of the U.S. Marshals Service notified detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Violent Offender Warrant Unit that Billings and Smoot were likely in Pinellas County.
Detectives said they learned that Billings had an ex-girlfriend, 34-year-old Tiffany McCord, who lived in an apartment on Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island.
On Saturday (Aug. 18), detectives were conducting surveillance in the area of McCord’s apartment when they located and arrested Smoot.
During the course of the investigation, detectives said they learned that Billings was inside the apartment armed with a machete, a handgun, a .223 caliber AR-15 rifle, and a pipe bomb.
Witnesses told detectives that Billings specifically stated he was not going back to prison and would shoot it out with police before shooting himself. Detectives also learned that Billings had made a pipe bomb using black powder, metal and a detonator cord.
The Pinellas sheriff’s SWAT team was activated. Team members tried to establish communication with Billings at the apartment but were unsuccessful.
SWAT Team members used tear gas to try getting Billings to come out of the apartment but he refused. Deputies then breached the doors of the apartment and used flash bangs.
Before SWAT Team members could enter the residence, a fire broke out in the apartment and the fire department extinguished the flames.
Deputies entered the home and found Billings lying on the floor with two AR-15 magazines in his pocket. Deputies said Billings was alive but severely burned.
Billings was taken by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital.
“These guys are bad people and they were engaged in activity where they were willing to shoot it out with a cop,” Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “We are very fortunate that no one was hurt and no law enforcement were hurt.”
Photo shows Alton Otto Smoot.
Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Fugitives Caught | Arrests | Tampabay News
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