Florida woman arrested for turning in husband's guns after he tried to run her over

Arrest draws criticism online

Courtney Irby and Joseph Irby

LAKELAND, Fla. – A woman who went to a police station to turn in her husband's guns a day after he tried to run her over was arrested on an armed burglary charge, according to the Lakeland Police Department.

Police said Courtney Irby went to the station on Friday so officers could take possession of her husband's guns, which she had taken from his apartment.

"Well, he was arrested yesterday for trying to run me over with his car and he is now in jail. So I went to his apartment, since he is in jail, and I searched his apartment for the guns I knew he had and I took them," Courtney Irby said, according to the report.

The officer asked Courtney Irby to confirm what had happened.

"So, you are telling me you committed an armed burglary?" the officer asked.

"Yes, I am, but he wasn't going to turn them in so I am doing it," Courtney Irby replied, according to the report.

Police said Courtney Irby told them that she searched Joseph Irby's apartment because she knew he had guns but didn't know where he kept them. She said she got into the unit through the locked front door.

Officers did not elaborate on how many guns were handed over or how Courtney Irby got through the locked front door.

Police said they spoke with Joseph Irby from his cell at the Polk County Jail and he asked that charges be pressed against his estranged wife.

The day before, the couple had attended a divorce hearing and, as they were leaving the courthouse, they became involved in an argument. Joseph Irby got into his vehicle and started following his wife, who was trying to drive away from the courthouse, according to the report.

Records show Joseph Irby screamed and yelled at his wife while he rammed the rear end of her vehicle and tried to run her off the road as she was on the phone with police.

Officers said Courtney Irby was hysterically crying when they interviewed her and she was in fear for her life.

She told them that she's had several restraining orders against her husband in the past, the report said.

While Courtney Irby was with officers, Joseph Irby sent a photo indicating that he was at their child's day camp, according to the affidavit.

Joseph Irby claimed the scratches and transferred paint on his vehicle were old damages, the report said.

The officer who arrested Joseph Irby said he called her a "man hater" and a profanity.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani said this case illustrates the need to better support domestic violence survivors.

“The case of Courtney Taylor Irby demonstrates once more the dangerous linkage between intimate partner violence and access to firearms. Court records show that Irby applied for a temporary injunction against her husband and the two were in the process of a divorce. She was actively protecting herself and her family from an estranged husband who had not turned over his firearms to law enforcement, and was arrested for it. We should be outraged by her arrest, and Irby should not be prosecuted by the local State Attorney’s office," Eskamani wrote in a news release.

Others online have criticized the arrest. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed during the Parkland school shooting, tweeted that Courtney Irby deserves protection, not punishment.

"She attempted to turn in his guns to you, the police. You need to release this woman and protect her from him," he wrote.

Courtney Irby was arrested on charges of grand theft firearm and armed burglary. Joseph Irby was arrested on a charge of domestic violence - aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Both have since bonded out of the Polk County Jail.