Photo source – Volusia County Sheriff’s Office
On Sunday June 10th, 2018, the Orlando Police Department responded to a call of a domestic battery near Universal Orlando. After arriving on scene responding officers were fired upon and then engaged in a shootout that left one officer seriously wounded with a gunshot to the eye. The suspect then barricaded himself in an apartment with four children, aged 1, 7, 10, and 12. SWAT officers responded to secure the scene. Officers are still trying to talk to the armed suspect to try and resolve the standoff. The name of the armed felon has been released by Orlando Police Department. Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. has a long felony record in the State of Florida.
The name of the officer that was wounded is Officer Kevin Valencia. At approximately 9 A.M., Orlando police Chief John Mina told reporters, that the officer was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery. He did not say where the officer was wounded but did state that “It was a very serious, significant injury,” and that the officer was expected to live. Police sources reported to WFTV in Orlando, Florida that Officer Valencia was shot in the face.
At the news conference Mina, stated that at approximately 11:45 P.M., a woman called 911 and reported being attacked by her boyfriend. The woman stated that she had ran out of the apartment and had gone to a nearby restaurant located on Kirkman Road.
After police arrived at the apartment complex located on Eaglesmere Drive, they attempted to arrest the woman’s boyfriend, which lead to the exchange of gunfire and an officer being shot.
Chief Mina, further stated that the suspect currently has four children as hostages, ages 1, 7, 10 and 12; further saying that the Police Department’s main concern was the safety of the children in the apartment.
He also advised that a SWAT team has contacted the suspect at the Westbrook complex and is currently trying to negotiate with the suspect. Mina did confirm that negotiators have spoken with the suspect a few times, but he has repeatedly hung up the phone. He said, “Hopefully he peacefully surrenders,” and he cautioned residents to stay away from the area.
Mina further stated that one of the officer was able to return fire during the encounter, but it was unknown if the suspect had been wounded.
A resident of the apartment complex stated that she was woken up by four loud gunshots. She stated that when she looked out the window from her apartment she saw three people carrying the wounded officer. Several other residents stated that they were terrified, because they had no idea of wat was happening. Many of them were asleep when they woke up to gunfire.
After more police officers arrived the residents were told to vacate the complex, and they were moved to a nearby McDonald’s, then to a Holiday Inn. A 16-year-old boy that lived in the complex with his family said that his family was woken up by police officer telling them that they had to leave their apartment.
During the new conference Chief Mina stoically answered questions during his briefing. “We’ve been through this before. It’s hard. It’s very traumatic when your officer is shot in the line of duty. But they still have a job to do and that they are focused on a peaceful resolution to the standoff.”
As the standoff continues, residents still wait to return to their apartments.