It was a long night for law enforcement officers and residents in the Vista Oaks community of Palm Bay. Palm Bay police said that a 41-year-old father of two involved them in a seven hour standoff.
Detectives said at 4:35 a.m. Sunday emergency dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from a neighbor in the area of the 1700 block of Joshua Drive in the Vista Oaks community on the city's east side. The caller reported that she saw her neighbor, Earl Stanton point a rifle out his upstairs window along with hearing the suspect yell obscenities before firing gunshots out the window.
The caller also told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that there were two children living in the home with him at the time. When Palm Bay Police officers arrived to the home, they said they repeatedly tried to contact Mr. Stanton, but they said it went ignored, so they brought in a SWAT team and crisis negotiators.
As SWAT set up shop, neighbors in the area were advised to stay inside their homes. After just over 7 hours, the suspect came out of his home and peacefully surrendered to police. His two children, ages 14 and 8, were safely recovered and are currently being cared for by a family friend pending further action by the Department of Children and Family Services.
At this time, Stanton's motives are unclear and the incident remains under investigation. He's facing felony charges for shooting into a dwelling and is being sent for mental evaluation under Florida's Baker Act.