A tragic incident unfolded on Monday during a routine traffic stop in downtown Orlando, where a 26-year-old man lost his life after being shot by a police officer. According to the police’s initial account, the young man allegedly failed to comply with the officer’s instructions and made a “quick movement,” which caused the officer to react out of “fear for his life.”
The officer said he thought the driver was reaching for a gun. However, no firearm was recovered from the scene, leaving crucial questions unanswered.
Police said the officer involved in the shooting was not injured and was put on paid administrative leave as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the incident.
Shortly after 1:50 a.m. on Monday, police were patrolling the downtown Orlando area, which according to a police statement has been a hotspot for recent criminal activity. The man, identified as Derek Diaz, 26, was pulled over because the officer suspected he was involved in drug activity.
Chief Smith said he has reviewed body camera footage, which will be made public within 30 days. “The officers were stopping and engaging with a person and the person made a quick movement and the officer fired his weapon,” Smith said.
Smith told reporters that patrolling downtown Orlando has been difficult for police.
“Downtown’s always been very challenging just because of the large amount of people and this is the part we’ve been very proactive in our enforcement and patrol,” Smith told reporters. “This is an area where we seize a lot of firearms in, and I think we’re doing the best we can.”
However, no gun was found in the car.