2 North Carolina fugitives arrested in Florida

Two men wanted by North Carolina authorities were found hiding in a Florida home and were arrested after a weapons standoff with a SWAT team early Sunday, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

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The men were armed with an AR-15, a machete and a pipe bomb, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Donald “Alfred” Billings, 30, and Alton Otto Smoot, 26, were charged with attempted first-degree murder on law enforcement and felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on law enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office said. Billings also was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, and Smoot was charged with aggravated assault with a gun and fleeing law enforcement, deputies said.

"These guys are bad people, and they were engaged in activity where they were willing to shoot it out with a cop," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Times.

On Aug. 11, North Carolina deputies tried to pull over a vehicle registered to Billings, the newspaper reported. Billings, and Smoot, who was a passenger, drove away and fired at the deputies with a handgun and an AR-15 rifle, according to Alleghany County deputies.

On Aug. 17, U.S. marshals told Pinellas County officials that the men were in Florida, WTVT reported. Pinellas County authorities learned that Billings’ ex-girlfriend Tiffany McCord, 34, lived in Treasure Island. After conducting surveillance near McCord’s apartment, they arrested Smoot on Saturday, the Times reported.

Detectives learned that Billings was inside McCord’s apartment and armed with a machete, a handgun, a .223 caliber AR-15 and a pipe bomb that he made using black power, metal and a detonator cord, BayNews9 reported. 

Billings, who served jail time in North Carolina on a drug conviction in 2003 and 2004, told witnesses he was not going back to prison and would shoot it out with police, the Times reported.

Deputies used tear gas and a fire broke out, the newspaper reported.

“As we were still attempting to enter the apartment, a fire broke out in the apartment. We don't know if he set the fire or what happened. The fire department was already on standby, they were able to extinguish the fire. SWAT team members entered, and found billings on the floor," Gualtieri said at a news conference.

Deputies found Billings severely burned with two AR-15 magazines on him, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Authorities took Billings to a hospital, the Times reported

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