A bullet from the gun of an Orlando police officer killed an innocent woman in a downtown bar early Tuesday morning, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. The shooting happened at the Vixen bar at Pine Street and Orange Avenue.
Mina said Maria Godinez, 22, was inside the club when she was struck and killed by a bullet from the gun of Officer Eduardo Sanguino.
“The preliminary indication is that during this situation a bullet was discharged from Officer Eduardo Sanguino’s firearm and fatally struck Maria inside the establishment,” Mina said. Officers said that a little before 1 a.m. Tuesday, they received a call that an armed man was in the downtown area making threats.
Several 911 calls were made by different witnesses who were in the area just prior to the shooting.
“I got a guy in front of a club right now waving a gun around,” said one 911 caller.
“Yeah, I have a gun-wielding maniac at 116 South Orange Avenue,” said another 911 caller.
Police said when they arrived about a minute later, an officer got into an altercation with the man, Kody Roach. They said they saw Roach, but not the weapon until a short time later.
An officer then used a Taser on Roach, but the device didn’t hit him properly and didn’t knock him down. According to reports, Roach turned around and the officer fired nine times. Witness Brian Adams described what he saw to Eyewitness News.
“The guy that was trying to get into the club pulled out a gun on the bouncers, who were trying to stop him from getting into the club,” said Adams.
“I heard six loud, consecutive gunshots” said Chris Dinger, who said he witnessed the shooting.
Another witness told Channel 9 that Godinez was standing inside the bar because after Roach was thrown out of the bar, the bouncers kept other patrons inside. Roach was shot multiple times during the incident and is at Orlando Regional Medical Center in stable condition, according to Mina. Orlando Police Lt. Frank Nunez was also struck by one of the bullets during the incident. He was treated at ORMC and released.
Roach has been charged with carrying a concealed firearm and other charges, including felony murder, are pending, Mina said. Police said the gun Roach was carrying was stolen.
WFTV found out Roach’s family is looking for a high-powered attorney. Mina said none of the shots fired came from Roach’s gun.
“As police officers, our job is to protect the public and keep our residents safe, and one of the most challenging aspects of our job is when criminal activity affects innocent bystanders,” said Mina.
“The police are going to charge this individual with some form of felony murder, you can bet, ” said WFTV’s legal analyst Bill Sheaffer. Sheaffer said it’s also possible the State Attorney’s Office could take the case against the officer to a grand jury to decide if he was justified in opening fire.
Sanguino and Officer Jeff Angel are on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. So far, the FDLE investigation has not found any indication that the officer was not justified to fire at Roach.
Sanguino has been with the department for two and a half years, according to Mina. Angel is a 14-year veteran and Nunez is a 19-year veteran. His friends said he is trying to come to grips with what happened and other officers are offering their support.
The bar owners said they did not know Godinez but that they were devastated by her death. Her family came to Orlando to plan funeral arrangements.
Police asked that anyone who witnessed the incident please contact FDLE.