Man arrested after exchanging gunfire with police during standoff

Melbourne police arrest 47-year-old man

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A 47-year-old man was arrested Thursday after barricading himself inside a Melbourne condo for hours and exchanging gunfire with police, according to authorities.

Michael Thomas Taylor, an Army veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was taken into custody around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. He will likely be facing attempted murder charges. 

The nearly 12-hour-long standoff prompted police to evacuate residents to a bowling alley next door to the complex. 

"I can tell you this was a very tense situation for our police officers and for the residents of this complex," said Sgt. Sheridan Shelley with the Melbourne Police Department.

"I was very worried just because of the ricochet of bullets," said John Murtajh, a neighbor. "There are apartments on either side of you, so the exchange and rate of gunfire, you have to worry about that."

Melbourne police said they were called to the Coral Gardens Apartments around 11 p.m. Wednesday about a domestic violence incident at a home on Ellen Court.

Taylor refused to leave the condo, police said. His wife and step son, who were inside the home, were able to safely get out before the gun battle, according to police.

Melbourne police said Taylor began firing a gun, including shots aimed at police officers, around 1 a.m. 

During the standoff, it appears the 47-year-old was also posting to social media.

"We are looking into that the possibility of social media was being used to communicate the situation that was going on and he maybe even tried to solicit information from others," said Shelley.

After hours and hours of negotiating, a homeless veterans advocate stepped in and calmed Taylor down.

"From a combat veteran to another combat veteran, there's a rapport that I knew if I had the opportunity, we could resolve this peacefully."

No police officers were hurt.

"Our officers are extremely fortunate that none of them were hurt," said Shelley. "Mr. Taylor is lucky he gets to go to jail today and nothing worse than that."

It's not known what type of gun or guns Taylor had in the condo.

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