Both Donald Billings, a 50-year-old, and Alton Smoot, a 26-year-old, have been taken into police custody after an extremely dangerous standoff between the suspects and SWAT teams.
The team of men were both already wanted in connection to a previous incident, so when North Carolina deputies noticed the Toyota registered to Billings driving down the road, they attempted to pull the car over. Immediately, the Toyota sped off. The two men began discharging their firearms out of the window at deputies. Police officers made the decision to stop pursuing the truck in order to protect themselves and the public.
The Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office issued a new arrest warrant as the duo abandoned the truck and stole a different Chevrolet Tahoe. Investigators conducted covert surveillance on an apartment building where the suspects may have been staying, and they were able to successfully detain Smoot. While arresting Smoot, authorities learned that Billings was inside the apartment armed with a handgun, pipe bomb, AR-15 rifle and a machete. Billings made it clear to police that he “was not going back to prison.”
Authorities promptly contacted SWAT teams to respond. Negotiations were futile, so the SWAT group used tear gas and flashbangs to force their way inside. A small fire was ignited, and Billings suffered severe burns. The suspect needed to be airlifted to the nearby Tampa General Hospital for treatment. He is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a felon and attempted first-degree murder. Smoot is also being charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, fleeing and eluding law enforcement and aggravated assault with a weapon.