Allen Harmeyer (past mug shot from 1996)
Valrico, Florida -- Two deputies drove past a fence covered in paranoid signs -- PRIVATE PROPERTY, BEWARE OF DOG -- down a dark driveway, hundreds of feet into the woods.
They were answering the kind of call every deputy dreads: domestic violence.
PHOTOS: Man fires at deputies in Valrico
"We have established pretty much a zero tolerance now for any type of domestic violence," Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said.
"So in most cases, somebody ends up going to jail. And these individuals know that. And they don't want to go to jail.
McKinnon says the girlfriend of 45 year-old Allen Harmeyer called 911 just after 1 a.m. Friday.
She said Harmeyer had tried to choke her and threw her out of their house on Silver Lane in Valrico.
Two deputies came to her aid.
After hurling threats at those deputies from his front door, investigators say Harmeyer ducked back inside and returned with an AK-47 style assault rifle.
He started spraying bullets toward the two deputies, who were trapped out in the open, McKinnon said.
Detectives say he emptied a full magazine -- that's 30 shots.
The bullets tore into both deputies' cruisers.
Windows exploded. Metal panels were pierced like paper.
"Bulletproof vests -- in these types of situations, with these high-power assault rifles -- just would not have made a difference," McKinnon said.
"So, it's just mere luck, and their training and instincts, that they're here today and not planning a funeral."
One deputy returned fire, sending Harmeyer running back inside.
He could have gone for his stash of bullets to reload.
Investigators say a case inside the house held about a thousand rounds of ammo.
Instead, Harmeyer gave up and surrendered, hands up, a few minutes later.
Amazingly, no one had been shot. The girlfriend who first called for help had just bumps and bruises from her initial confrontation with Harmeyer.
The damage bill for to the two shot-up sheriff's cruisers figures to be about $5,000.
Harmeyer has been hauled off to the Hillsborough County Jail, and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, five counts of aggravated assault on an officer and domestic violence battery.
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