Reports of large clouds of smoke brought firefighters to a house on Evergreen Road in Odenton on Friday night where they discovered a 10-by-15-foot illegal burn out back, but 62-year-old James Armentrout dismissed whoever complained as liberals and cowards.
"I don't even know why the neighbors even called the fire department, because he burns all the time," said Sam McVea, a neighbor who lives across the street.
When firefighters prepared to douse the flames, the confrontational owner became violent.
"He used his pickup truck to try to obstruct the efforts of the firefighters from extinguishing the fire,” said Marc Limansky of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, “He was clearly upset, went into his house and retrieved a long firearm, discharged several rounds, witnesses say between eight and 13 rounds into the ground."
The firefighters pulled back, and a short time later police arrest Armentrout who now faces a series of charges including reckless endangerment and firing weapons within a hundred yard of his neighbors' homes without permission.
A search of the house later revealed Armentrout had no shortage of firepower.
"They recovered 34 firearms---five handguns, 23 rifles and six shotguns from the residence," said Limansky.
They also seized more than a thousand rounds of ammunition, but much like the big fire, the fact that Armentrout owned so much firepower didn't seem to faze this longtime neighbor.
"I've never seen him with them out, but I've heard him shooting, but never seen any of them," said McVean.
"No, I thought maybe he had a target practice sitting back up in the woods or something. It didn't bother me."
At this point, it remains unclear why Armentrout fired the apparent warning shots, although his girlfriend told police they had gotten into a fight at a restaurant that night and he did admit to officers that he had consumed about a dozen beers.