Orlando Police Fail to Report Homicide

homicide in orlando 2019On October 6, 2018, a 26-year-old father of two died from apparent gunshot wounds at a hotel in the Orlando tourism district. A 22-year-old friend of his has become the possible suspect and was arrested three weeks after the killing. The shooter was arrested on Oct. 28, 2018, pled not guilty to a first-degree murder charge, and is being held without bond in the Orange County Jail until his early March 2019 court date. The Orlando community is upset that the Orlando Police Department failed to notify them about the slaying or the murder suspect’s arrest.

Not Notifying the Public

A public record request for the filed OPD affidavit used to obtain an arrest warrant revealed a total redaction of report information. This same affidavit is a required filing with the Orange County Clerk of Courts, but it never appeared in the public court record.

The Orlando Police Chief didn’t have a reason as to why this failure occurred but acknowledged it was important for his department to be consistent in their practice of sharing information about these events. The chief is certain this instance wasn’t intentional.

The Scene of the Crime

An employee at the hotel found the victim’s body around 11:30 a.m. She had checked on him earlier that morning but thought he was asleep. When she checked on him a second time, she noticed his gunshot injuries.

A black duffel bag found near the second bed contained pills and marijuana. A gun was not found at the scene. Still, police didn’t notify the local community about what occurred because the case hadn’t been officially labeled a homicide right away. The chief said this was because the department was unsure if the situation was a suicide, a death from natural causes, or an overdose.

Investigative Report

Hotel records verified the 26-year-old victim booked the room online and in his name for the night of October 5. This was so he and his girlfriend could sleep better because of their own home being overcrowded. His girlfriend stated that once they were checked in after 11:30 that night, her boyfriend started reaching out to people to sell them drugs. This is something that he had already been in trouble for back in 2014 when he pled no contest to possessing marijuana with intent to sell it. He served no prison time for this and had no other arrest history.

Once the police were notified of the dead body,  detectives started speaking with people who knew the victim. Detectives said that during their first conversation the shooter’s name was mentioned, and the next day they received a call from him. He met the detectives at his grandfather’s home the following day and told them he only hung out with the victim. He claimed he didn’t kill him and left the hotel around 5 a.m. after calling a friend to pick him up.

The Break in the Case

Surveillance video showed that he was picked up at a restaurant up the street, and the time was 7:30 a.m. not 5 a.m. The friend that picked up the alleged shooter said that he was given a gun to get rid of that morning, but instead, he put it in a backpack that he then hid in a relative’s apartment. Detectives retrieved a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 caliber handgun from that apartment, and the casings found at the murder scene matched it.

A week later, the same friend reached out to law enforcement, admitting that the suspect did confess to killing the 26-year-old man at the hotel. He was initially afraid to share this information because he didn’t want to “rat on a friend” or face possible jail time.

Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys

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