Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Public safety

SWAT standoff at Brandon home ends with man in custody (w/video)

BRANDON — A neighborhood was put on lockdown Sunday afternoon after a man barricaded himself in his home with a small arsenal and fired rounds through his garage door as deputies surrounded his house.

Families huddled in their homes for hours while snipers took positions on rooftops and an armored vehicle was rolled in front of the garage from which the man was firing. When negotiations with the man failed, a SWAT team fired gas canisters into the house before storming inside.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies took Barry Engh, 53, whom they described as heavily intoxicated, into custody about 8 p.m. after the standoff at 509 Larry Circle N.

Sheriff David Gee said Engh will likely face felony charges that could range from aggravated assault to attempted murder.

Deputies arrived on scene about 4 p.m. in response to a report of gunshots being fired and found a man outside the home armed with what was described as a long barrel gun. The man retreated inside the home, from which he fired about 20 rounds through the course of the evening, Gee said.

"He wanted us to shoot him; he said that in the conversation," Gee said during a news conference. "He came out several times armed with a gun in his hand. They showed great restraint, and I think they did an outstanding job here tonight."

Gee said canisters of gas were fired into the home after Engh shot several rounds out the garage door and almost hit a SWAT team member.

"The SWAT team got into a brief standoff at the door, threw some more handheld gas into there, at which time they were able to distract him long enough to get him into custody," Gee said.

Engh was treated by Hillsborough County Fire Rescue for gas inhalation and transferred to Tampa General Hospital for "extreme intoxication."

Engh had "a small arsenal" lined up at the front door, and ammunition magazines were falling out of his pants as authorities apprehended him, Gee said.

It is unknown if Engh has a history of mental health issues, but authorities were told he was struggling with recent family issues and an alcohol problem.

Tampa Bay Times photo editor and photographer Skip O'Rourke lives in the neighborhood and said he was outside working on his truck when he heard a bang at 4 p.m.

"I heard it again and was like, 'Is that gun fire or a firecracker?' " O'Rourke said during a phone interview from inside his home during the standoff. "I heard the bang again and, at the same time, heard a whoosh behind me, like right behind me."

O'Rourke and his wife knocked on neighbors' doors to alert them and O'Rourke called the Sheriff's Office.

Bryan Road was shut in both directions from Lithia Pinecrest to Lumsden roads and residents were asked to stay inside their homes.

Starlene Banks and her husband, Robert, were on the way back from Orlando when neighbors started texting them and deputies said they would have to wait to enter their home on Larry Circle.

"I don't want to get hit by a stray bullet," Robert Banks said.

Gee praised the deputies and SWAT operators for their restraint and success in bringing Engh into custody.

"The troops did a great job," Gee said. "This guy could've easily, justifiably been killed. … It's a good ending for law enforcement and a good ending for the neighborhood tonight."

Times photographer Ken Nishimura contributed to this report. Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

     
     
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