Florida Police Find Arsenal in Fire-Ravaged Home

April 18, 2008
A woman was arrested at the scene.


More than 24 hours after police say a woman firebombed her boyfriend's Jacksonville Beach home, investigators announced the discovery of several guns and a grenade launcher inside the burned house.

The fire burned Wednesday afternoon in the home of 37-year-old Shawn Duerfeldt in the 800 block of 16th Avenue South.

Police arrested Duerfeldt's 23-year-old girlfriend, Melissa Armer, at the scene and charged her with attempted homicide-domestic violence, two counts of arson of an occupied dwelling and manufacturing a firebomb.

A witness said Armer soaked a towel with gasoline and set it on fire before throwing it at her sleeping boyfriend.

All three of the people in the home at the time of the fire were able to escape the blaze with minor smoke inhalation and minor burns.

Police said after the fire was out, they found several weapons inside the victim's home.

"They found several long guns, an SKS that's similar to an AK-47, 9 mm rifle, several handguns and a tube that we believe is a grenade launcher," said Jacksonville Beach Police Sgt. Tom Bingham. Jacksonville Beach Police Department booking photo of Melissa Armer

Police said they also found a lot of ammunition in the home that once ignited could have been deadly to emergency crews and neighbors.

"If a round cooks off and discharges, there's no telling where it's going to go. It could go in any direction at all, so it's extremely dangerous. Especially with those caliber rounds that can punch through concrete blocks or several layers of sheetrock," Bingham said.

Neighbor Andrew Ware said he was surprised by the alleged crimes that took place next door to his home and also by the arsenal police found inside.

"When the fire was first going, you could definitely hear a lot of popping noises coming from the house. Then, later on we heard it was because of all the bullets, and that kind of scares you when you think about it," Ware said.

The incident was even more frightening for Duerfeldt, who police said was Armer's intended target.

On Thursday, he searched through the rubble of what was left of his home.

"He's very shaken up. This is his home, his life, his house and he never thought anything like that would ever happen," said Duerfeldt's cousin, Rachel Stone.

Despite the number of weapons found inside Duerfeldt's home, police said everything appears to be legal.

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