WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A man has been shot by a Winter Garden police officer after authorities say that man pinned the officer against a dumpster, as he drove a car recklessly through the parking lot of a shopping center. It happened at West Point Commons, located at 13770 W. Colonial Drive in Winter Garden.
Investigators said a man went to a business at the shopping center to retrieve his last paycheck after being fired from his job. The man then got in his car, began driving in "donuts," or circles, in the parking lot and somehow ended up pinning the officer against the dumpster, authorities say.
The officer fired shots at the driver, which the police department says was done in self-defense. The driver received gunshot wounds while the officer sustained injuries to his legs. Both men were transported to a hospital. The officer had non life-threatening injuries. The latest condition of the man shot by the officer was not known.
Lisa Guerard was eating dinner with her daughter inside a pizza restaurant when four police officers came in and went into the kitchen. Then she heard popping sounds, and someone yelled "Shots fired!" "I did see a few cops, running past the window," she said. "I grabbed my daughter, and I run into the kitchen, and I just huddled." She said she thought of only one thing. "Saving my daughter, you know? I’m thinking, if there’s a stray bullet that comes through ... I just wanted to save my daughter."
Police say the suspect worked at the pizza place and he got into a disagreement with a manager. Police say he battered the manager, then drove away. When he returned to pick up the paycheck, that’s when officers tried to arrest him.
Wesley Rogers is friends with the suspect and says he is a good guy who works hard. Rogers was stunned to see his friend on the ground bleeding. "Horrific! It was a horrible sight, and it was something you wish upon nobody."
Winter Garden police have not released the names of either officer involved in this shooting or the suspect. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, as is standard procedure for any shooting incidents involving police officers.