Courtney Taylor Irby was in fear for her life on June 15. Her husband had tried to run her off the road and had been arrested for it. He was facing a domestic violence charge, Irby had a restraining order and he wasn’t even allowed to use, possess or carry firearms. He was in jail but was soon to make bond.
To protect herself, Irby drove to his apartment, got past the locked front door and collected the guns she knew he had, according to police records obtained by the Lakeland Ledger. Then the she turned the weapons over to police – and they arrested her on theft charges and armed burglary.
Her husband, Joseph Irby, was released on bail that day but Irby ended up spending six days and five nights in jail for trying to protect herself.
But the community is rallying around her. More than 24 supporters were in the courtroom for her bail hearing on Thursday, including family, friends, her pastor and other church members, LkldNow reported.
The Hillsborough County, Fla., state attorney John Morgan and Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani are also sticking up for her. They are asking Polk County State Attorney Brian Haas not to pursue the charges brought against her.
“She was literally asking for help,” Eskamani told The Washington Post. “We know with so many survivors of domestic violence that asking for help is the biggest challenge. We just demonstrated that if you ask for help, you might be arrested.”
Irby’s sister, Haley Burke, also spoke up in her sister’s defense.
“My sister was hysterical,” Burke wrote in an email to LkldNow. “She knew that this just poked the bear, and he would be coming after her. In the (hopes) of protecting herself and her children, she did the one thing that she thought would help save her life. She went to his apartment, gathered his arsenal of firearms and Kevlar and took them to the police station. She just knew that if the police had the guns, she would be safe for just a little while longer.”