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Florida mother arrested after child, stepfather shot dead

25 June 2019

She was charged last week with armed burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a firearm.

Now a Florida lawmaker and gun safety advocates are championing her cause, asking a state attorney on Monday drop the charges, while gun rights advocates want her prosecuted.

An arrest report from the Bartow Police Department says Joseph Irby and Taylor Irby attended a court hearing June 14 in their divorce proceedings.

Mrs Irby, 32, and her husband, Joseph Irby, 35, who have two children, are in the middle of divorce proceedings after separating in December. "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 told police.

Fox News said that the officer who spoke to Irby responded: "So, are you telling me you committed an armed burglary?"

"Yes, but he wasn't going to turn them in so I am doing it", she replied, according to the officer. She sent a letter Monday to State Attorney Brian Haas asking that Irby not be prosecuted.

Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia, in an interview with WFLA, said his department has to "safeguard every citizen's rights". 'Prosecuting Ms. Irby sets a scary precedent that if someone seeks help to escape abuse, they will be punished for it'.

As Ms Eskamani pointed out in her letter, federal law might ban those with domestic violence convictions or restraining orders from possessing guns, but at the state level, there are loopholes that can prevent local law enforcement from enforcing the weapons restrictions.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani was disturbed by the story and commented on how the situation demonstrates the need for a better understanding of domestic violence. According to his arrest report, they both got into their cars and then he used his vehicle to strike her back bumper several times, running her off the road.

The victims were identified as her young daughter, Amarilyss Martinez, and stepfather, 54-year-old Felix Rivera, news station WPTV reported.

After they arrested Courtney, police called Joseph at the Polk County jail.

She went to the Lakeland Police Department on Friday June 15 to turn over the firearms, according to WMKG-TV. Authorities in Florida say a woman fatally shot her stepfather and her 8-year-old daughter and wounded her mother.

Florida mother arrested after child, stepfather shot dead