Man arrested after SWAT situation in Mulberry

MULBERRY, Fla. (WFLA) – A man is in custody after a SWAT situation in Polk County Thursday afternoon, according to deputies.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT team responded to a home in Mulberry after a 911 hang-up call.

According to the sheriff’s office, a man, believed to be armed, had barricaded himself inside the home, refused to come out and would not open the door or talk to cops.

A PCSO spokesperson said that patrol deputies first responded to the home around 7:45 a.m. on Thursday.  After hours with no response from the man, a SWAT team was called in. At one point a woman managed to escape the home and spoke with deputies. No one else was inside the home, according to authorities.

Nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution while police worked on a peaceful resolution to get the person to leave the house without hurting himself.

“It was scary. I mean, we were in the line of fire here. It’s disturbing when you find someone like that around the neighborhood,” neighbor Thomas Rhoton told News Channel 8. Rhoton and other neighbors were stuck in their homes for hours until the standoff ended.

“We couldn’t leave. We couldn’t go outside. The cops came to us and told us go back inside,” Rhoton said.

Rhoton told News Channel 8 the victim ran to his home for help.

“She’s banging on the door and she’s like ‘I need some help, I need some help. I need to use your phone,’” he said. “She was shaking all over, she was crying, she had blood all over her face where he hit on her.”

The victim’s mom, Maureen, received a phone call from her frantic daughter.

“She said ‘mom, he hit me. Call police, help me, help me!’” she said. “I was terrified that he was going to shoot her or something worse was going to happen.”

The victim’s mother is happy Smoot was taken into custody and her daughter made it out alive.

“I’m happy it went the way it went, nobody wound up dead and he’s in custody,” Maureen said.

By 2:40 pm on Thursday, deputies had the man in custody.  It’s unclear whether any charges have been filed at this time.

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