A Windermere police officer is dead following a shooting in Orange County.
It happened just before 4 a.m. near Conroy-Windermere Road and Horizon Circle.
Windermere Police Department Chief David Ogden said Officer Robert German, 31, performed subject stop on two individuals who were walking on the south side of the road and immediately called for assistance.
Officers from the Orlando Police Department and Ocoee Police Department responded to the call, along with Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies. They found German shot on the ground and heard gunshots in the background.
Four deputies, one Orlando police officer and one Ocoee police officer participated in a tactical rescue of German. They used patrol cars to shield the officer, placed him in a car and drove him out of the area.
Shortly after the shooting, deputies set up a perimeter and located the two suspects deceased under brush near 9350 Conroy-Windermere Rd.
Sheriff Jerry Demings said the two are in their late teens or early 20s and may have committed suicide. Their identities are not being released at this time, pending next of kin notification.
The shooting was one mile away from where Orange County Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine, 34, was killed Feb. 11.
Officer Robert German was a 5 year veteran of the Windermere Police Department and had just turned 31.
He was born in Ontario, Canada and moved to Central Florida at the age of 5. He grew up in Sanford and Lake Mary and became a year-round-soccer player progressing to club select/travel teams while in middle and high school.
Officer German graduated from Lake Mary High School in 2001 and then attended South Georgia College on an athletic scholarship where he studied business.
After college he worked in airport security operations and interacted with local police departments which reinforced his passion for fighting crime and helping the community.
He then attended the then named Seminole Community College Police Academy and joined the Windermere Police Department on December 19, 2008.
"Officer German was a good cop, he was one of the finest police officers that we had in this agency," said Windermere Police Chief David Ogden.
Officer German had just returned to patrolling the streets. He was on light duty for four months after an injury. That injury hasn't been disclosed.
In 2011, German made local headlines when he shot at a suspect that he said was trying to hit him with his car. Nobody was injured.
German was recognized for five years of service with the Windermere Police Department Jan. 14 at a Town Council meeting. He had recently returned from light duty following surgery.
"I think one thing that his mother shared with me was that how he loved being an officer and how he loved working for Windermere. And I think that showed in everything he did, his relationships with our residents, even our elected officials and staff," said Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn.
Ogden said he is survived by his parents, Tim and Debbie German, and called the officer "one of the finest."
The death of Officer German sent a shock wave of emotions through the community he worked so hard to protect.
"This is such a nice safe area. It is unbelievable that this would happen," said resident Beth W.
"I think it's terrible. I am shocked to hear this to be honest with you. Very peaceful town, very friendly too," said resident Rahul Sriram.
"Random things like this don't happen in Windermere," said resident Denise Richardson.
"It's a tragedy. It is very sad," said resident Gilbert Viveiros.
Town of Windermere's Facebook page:
The entire law enforcement community and the Town of Windermere are mourning the loss of Officer Robert German. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with Officer German's family during this difficult time. We ask that you give the Windermere Police Department, our officers and the family some time to get through this tragedy.
Orlando Police Department:
Chief John Mina and all members of the Orlando Police Department express their deepest sympathy and condolences to the family, friends, and fellow officers of Officer Robert German, Windemere Police Department. Officer German paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to his community. We ask that the community please keep Officer German and his family in their prayers, and remember the sacrifices paid by law enforcement officers to keep them safe.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:
Windermere Police Officer Robert German lost his life bravely serving his community. My prayers are with his family and friends as we all mourn this tragic loss. Officer German will forever be remembered for his courage and selflessness.
Florida Sheriff's Association:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of officer German of the Windermere, FL Police Department who died in the line of the duty.