The Orlando police officer who shot and killed a woman during a late-night confrontation with an armed man early Tuesday morning in downtown Orlando fired his agency-issued weapon nine times, according to a report released Wednesday.
Officer Eduardo Sanguino struck the suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Kody Roach, several times, the report states. Roach survived the shooting.
Maria Castillo, 22, was struck by a stray bullet fired from Sanguino's gun, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Tuesday in a press conference. Police originally said Maria's last name was Godinez, but friends say she actually went by the last name Castillo.
Castillo later died at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Witnesses at the time of the shooting said it wasn't likely that Roach fired his weapon. However, further investigation revealed Roach's .40-caliber handgun wasn't loaded and had no ammunition in the magazine or in the chamber, according to the report released Wednesday.
Police said the gun Roach had was stolen out of Orange County and was fully operational.
The shooting happened around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday outside Vixen Bar, 118 S. Orange Ave., when officers responded to a man with a gun.
Witnesses said the suspect, Kody Roach, was a regular at the bar. A man said Roach tried to walk inside the bar with his firearm.
911 calls began to come into dispatchers of a man with a gun outside the nightclub in downtown Orlando.
"He's, like, banging on the door with a gun!" said one caller.
A few minutes later, another caller who identified himself as a Vixen employee said Roach had been giving them trouble earlier.
"There's a guy we kicked out of our bar because he's too drunk and now he's started waiving his handgun around," the caller said.
Police said there was then a confrontation between the suspect and officers after they arrived and shots were fired.
Witnesses said they heard as many as a half-dozen shots fired at the scene.
The officers involved are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
Friends: Victim was an innocent person
Maria Castillo's two friends said they came to Orlando from Brevard County for a fun weekend off that turned into their worst nightmare.
Shila Miles was right by Maria's side at Vixen when they started hearing commotion outside, then gunfire.
“I heard my friend say he shot me, and she fell to the ground,” Miles said.
“She was just in front of me running, she fell, I thought she fainted at first," said friend JD Dileo. "I went down to catch her and turn her around. I could see blood just leaking, so I just held her until the police got there."
What happened before Maria was shot seems surreal to her friends now. They remember seeing Kody Roach escorted out of the bar after he caused a commotion, then later heard him banging his gun against the club’s door and then heard the gunfire.
They even thought it was Roach who had shot their friend.
“But then I heard it was the police, and that just doesn’t make sense to me," Miles said. "They are trained to do that and why are they going to shoot at a door when there are people inside, you don’t know where its going to go, it just happened to hit my best friend.”
“I just want justice for her. I just want her story to be told. She didn’t deserve this, she was an innocent person.”
Did police follow protocol?
While officers face life or death situations many times in their careers, they also undergo specialized training to learn to cope with the pressure.
James Copenhaver, a private investigator and former Orange County sheriff’s investigator, said the revelation that nine shots were fired at a suspect in front of a crowded nightclub raises red flags about proper procedure.
Copenhaver said he understands the intensity of the situation.
“These cops are on heightened alert," he said. "They know that they are going on a call, that this guy has a gun because someone has seen it.”
But he said that’s when their constant training should kick in.
“It’s drilled in your head and you know before you take that fatal shot or any shot that you want some type of backdrop to protect potential citizens that are behind the suspect,” Copenhaver said.
Copenhaver said a thorough review of the incident will determine if the shooting was justified.
This is just the latest incident where the actions of Orlando police officers were questioned. Copenhaver he agrees with the recent indictment of the Orlando police officer charged with firing the AR-15 in a local parking garage. He again points to questions in the officer’s training and said maybe it’s time for a review.