TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. -- A SWAT standoff came to a fiery end in Pinellas County overnight. And now one suspect is in custody and the other in the hospital.
According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, two suspects -- Donald Billings, 50; and Alton Smoot, 26 -- had warrants out of North Carolina. They came to Treasure Island and were staying with a woman there.
Gualtieri says the warrants stemmed from an August 11 incident in which Billings and Smoot fled from deputies trying to make a traffic stop in Alleghany County, North Carolina. During the chase, deputies say gunfire came from the vehicle.
The chase was called off and Billings and Smoot got away. They reportedly then stole a car in Alleghany County and came down to Treasure Island.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office got information that Billings and Smoot were in an apartment in Treasure Island and set up surveillance. Once they did, they were able to take Smoot and several women he was with into custody. Those women weren't arrested and confirmed that Billings was in the apartment. They say he was in bed with an AR-15, machete, handgun and pipe bomb.
A SWAT team was called out and tried to communicate with Billings, but were unsuccessful because Billings doesn't have a cell phone and the apartment didn't have a phone, either.
The SWAT team used tear gas to try to get Billings out, but he wouldn't leave. They then set off flash bangs, and as they were entering the apartment, fire broke out. It's not clear if Billings set it.
Fire crews had already been on scene and were able to quickly knock down the flames.
Billings was found inside the apartment badly burned with 2 AR-15 magazines in his pockets. He was air-lifted to the hospital, where his condition is unknown.
"There's no quesiton that Smoot and Billings are bad people," said Gualtieri. "They have extensive histories."
Gualtieri said Billings was wanted out of North Carolina for attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and being a felon in possession with a firearm.
Smoot was wanted for aggravated assault with a gun, attempted first-degree murder and felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, as well as fleeing and eluding.
The woman Billings and Smoot were staying with will not be charged, said Gualtieri. It's not clear if she was inside when the fire broke out.
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