LARGO — An armed man who showed up at his estranged girlfriend's job sent police and sheriff's deputies scrambling Wednesday morning.
According to authorities, Neil M. James, 38, got into a domestic dispute with his estranged girlfriend at her Indian Rocks Beach home about 4 a.m. That's when James struck her in the head with a handgun.
The 27-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld, did not file a report at the time, authorities said.
But when she came to work at 10 a.m. she called the Sheriff's Office to report the incident.
As deputies were driving to her business, at 2401 W Bay Drive in Largo, they received word from Largo police that her estranged boyfriend had arrived, with two handguns, looking for her.
Largo police Lt. Mike Loux said the employees at the business locked the door as James tried to get in. He was eventually able to get inside, where he threatened two employees with his guns. In the meantime, his girlfriend fled through the back. When James realized she was gone, police said, he left in his six-door, 1987 black Cadillac limo.
Police and deputies fanned out to look for him.
About 1:30 p.m., he surrendered through his attorney at Largo police headquarters. James, of 1221 Balboa Circle, Largo, faces two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. He is being held on $90,000 bail.
James served 2 1/2 years in state prison on charges of trafficking cocaine. He was released in February 2003, according to Department of Corrections records.
Loux said police are still looking for a woman who was seen in the front passenger's seat of the limo when James arrived at the business complex. The woman tried to get out of the car, but he told her to stay inside. Neither she, nor the black limo, with license plate number 734IYC, has been found.
Jonathan Abel can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.