Man shoots rats in his yard, accidentally causes 8 hour standoff

Stephen Jonas of Palm Harbor, Florida, allegedly took a rifle and began firing rounds around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, authorities said. At least one bullet struck a neighbor’s backyard, but no one was injured according to a statement by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies set up a perimeter around Jonas’ home and evacuated the neighbors. A Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman told ABC News police attempted to use a PA system to get Jonas to come outside and surrender. But Jonas had apparently fallen asleep for eight hours, and not heard the police on the PA system the spokeswoman told ABC News.

The deputies were finally able to connect with Jonas, 51, who was impaired when he “walked out of his home and was taken into custody without incident,” according to the police statement.

A further search of the home turned up “many other weapons” that the spokeswoman described as at least 15 rifles, handguns, one shotgun and 1,300 rounds of ammunition. All were confiscated as evidence, she said. The spokeswoman also said that Jonas possessed more than 30 grams of marijuana and over 30 grams of pills that were believed to be Xanax.

While in custody, the spokeswoman confirmed Jonas was “cooperative” and allegedly “told deputies that he was shooting rats in his backyard.”

He faces one count of shooting into an occupied dwelling as well as felony possession of marijuana and felony possession of a controlled substance, the spokeswoman said.

He was brought to Pinellas County Jail but posted bail the same day, the spokeswoman said.

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