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Two brothers jailed after exchanging fire

An argument late Friday over a girlfriend sparked a violent encounter that involved punches and gunfire and landed two brothers in jail, authorities say.

Citrus sheriff's deputies are investigating the incident, which took place about 11 p.m. Friday on W Southern Street in Lecanto.

One man, a 32-year-old St. Petersburg nurse, was arrested on a charge of domestic violence. The other, a 30-year-old from Snellville, Ga., was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. Arrest papers say both appeared to have been drinking alcohol before the incident.

Though both men were arrested, sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney could not release their names because they signed statements saying they wanted to maintain their privacy.

State law allows victims in domestic violence cases to keep their names from public records. Both are considered victims because shots were fired toward each.

At the center of the fray is the St. Petersburg man's girlfriend, who also lives in St. Petersburg.

This is the account of the incidentgiven in arrest reports:

The St. Petersburg man became angry about comments his brother was making about the man's girlfriend. The argument became violent when the brother "took a fighting stance and tried to knee" the boyfriend, who jumped on his brother and held him in a headlock, reports say.

Both fell on a bed, where the boyfriend punched his younger brother several times. The boyfriend told authorities that he knew his brother kept guns in the house and asked his brother where one was.

The boyfriend saw his brother reaching under a pillow, so he did the same and grabbed a pistol. The boyfriend pointed the gun at his brother and yelled at him to leave the house.

It is not clear whose house it is, because neither brother lists Lecanto as his home address.

The boyfriend escorted his brother from the house. The brother walked to his van, where the boyfriend told deputies he thought his brother might have had a gun.

The boyfriend told his girlfriend to get down and fired one shot into the air. The brother retrieved a gun and fired eight shots toward the girlfriend.

No one was hurt. The boyfriend's truck took most of the bullets.

The boyfriend and girlfriend ran behind the house into some woods, where they hid behind a tree. They told deputies that the brother then drove his van toward the pair. When the van was about 30 yards away, the boyfriend fired about nine shots at the van, striking it at least once, reports say.

The brother told deputies that he fired only after the boyfriend fired at him. Reports say the bullet holes in the boyfriend's truck indicate that the brother fired at the girlfriend, not the boyfriend.

No other information was available. Tierney said authorities still were determining whether names could be released.

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