TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – Deputies say a Tarpon Springs mother was attacked early Saturday morning by an intruder she had shot just moments before while trying to protect her 3-year-old child and a neighbor.
Investigators believe Daniel Morley, 18, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he attacked the two women and forced his way into one woman’s condo.
At 3:56 a.m. on Saturday, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a condo at 1344 Pine Ridge Circle East, after receiving a report of a suspicious person yelling and knocking on doors.
When deputies arrived, they saw 18-year-old Daniel Morley, standing on the second story balcony wearing only boxer shorts. Deputies say Morley fit the description of the suspicious person described in the 911 call. After seeing deputies, Morley ran to the third floor and entered a residence.
When deputies approached the condo, they heard yelling and banging on the walls inside the residence. Deputies say they knocked on the door and announced their presence. In the meantime, dispatchers told the deputies that someone at the condo was armed with a gun.
Deputies say Morley opened the door to the residence covered in blood. Morley began attacking the deputies, who used an electronic control device to try and subdue Morley; however, the device had little or no effect. After a violent struggle with deputies, Morley was handcuffed and taken into custody.
Deputies then checked the condo and found the victims, 31-year-old Brittany Cheek and her 3-year-old child, locked in the bathroom.
Cheek told deputies what happened. She said she initially heard yelling outside of her apartment. When she looked out of her door’s peephole, she saw Morley physically attacking her neighbor, 52-year-old Susan Bass.
Fearing for Bass’s safety, Cheek armed herself with her handgun and confronted Morley demanding he leave Bass alone.
Morley immediately lunged at Cheek, who was standing inside the doorway of her condo. Deputies say Cheek was in fear for her and her 3-year-old’s life when she fired her handgun multiple times striking Morley in the leg.
Morley then forced his way into Cheek’s apartment and physically attacked her in front of her 3-year-old child.
When Cheek’s neighbors tried to intervene, Morley fought with them, allowing Cheek and her child time to hide in the bathroom until deputies arrived.
Cheek’s neighbor, Susan Bass then told deputies what happened. She said that Morley was banging on her door, and appeared to be bleeding from his head. Bass thought he might be hurt and needed some help, so she opened her door. Morley began to make incoherent statements, about God and the devil, and would not allow Bass to close her door. He then became agitated and physically attacked her.
Bass said she did not know Morley.
Paramedics treated Bass and Cheek for minor injuries. Deputies say Cheek’s 3-year-old child was knocked down during the attack and received minor injuries.
Corporal Noble Katzer and Deputy Matthew Ware suffered minor injuries. Deputy Peter Lamborghini suffered injuries to his hands during the violent struggle with Morley.
Morley was treated at the scene for a gunshot wound to his leg. He was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital and was admitted for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
Deputies say none of the victims knew Morley but they believe Morley was impaired at the time of the incident.
Morley was charged with two counts of Simple Battery, two counts of Burglary with Assault or Battery, one count of Battery on Law Enforcement Officer, and three counts of Resisting with Violence.
Morley will be transported to the Pinellas County Jail after he is released from the hospital.
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