Orlando Local News

Police officers expected to survive after being shot in Downtown Orlando

todayAugust 6, 2023

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Two Orlando police officers are expected to recover after being critically injured in a downtown shooting late Friday night, Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith said during a conference Saturday.

What You Need To Know

  • A shooting in downtown Orlando late Friday night left two Orlando police officers critically injured 
  • The suspect, identified as 28-year-old Daton S. Viel, died after a standoff with Orlando’s SWAT Team in a Holiday Inn near Universal Orlando resort

  • The two officers have not yet been identified but are recovering in a hospital

The suspect, identified as 28-year-old Daton S. Viel, was killed during a standoff with law enforcement. Officials said Viel barricaded himself inside of a Holiday Inn off Caravan Court, near Universal Orlando resort.

Orlando Police’s SWAT team arrived at 6 a.m. and evacuated the hotel before Viel started shooting at SWAT team members. The two parties exchanged gunfire and Viel died at the scene.

The Miami-Dade Police Department was looking for Viel referencing a homicide in Miami-Dade County.

Smith said that Viel had an “extensive violent criminal history” and an Orange County court record search shows a long wrap sheet.

This past March, Orlando Police highlighted their efforts on Facebook to arrest Viel, charging him with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Viel came back on the radar of police Friday night, when he was spotted next to a car wanted in connection to a murder in Miami.

“The person was outside the vehicle, and the car was basically wanted (in connection to) a homicide case out of Miami and then the shooting occurred,” said Smith.

South Florida police had been looking for the car, a red Ford fusion, since last month. A man donning a ski mask shot and killed Michael Williams Jr. in Miami on July 10. Surveillance footage led police to identify the Ford Fusion.

It wasn’t until Friday night that Orlando Police spotted the car again, next to Viel, just before 11 p.m. in the area of East Washington Street and North Garland Avenue.

“After the shooting occurred, he did a carjacking, we have a victim of the carjacking, so that was the vehicle we were in the vehicle pursuit of,” said Smith.

The carjacking victim is ok, according to Smith. The vehicle involved in the carjacking was found in the Apopka area, close to where records show Viel lived.

Investigators are still determining how Viel ended up getting from Apopka to the Holiday Inn near Universal Orlando.

Initial reports said authorities were searching for two suspects, but the second suspect was not directly involved in the shooting of the officers.

Smith said multiple agencies participated in the ongoing investigation. He also thanked the community for their support.

“We want to thank the community, ’cause as always, we get a lot of calls,” he said. “There were people right there that saw this happen and said, ‘Hey, that person just shot an officer, you know, there he goes,’ and that goes a long way, because a lot of communities people don’t do that, people don’t care. Our community cares.”

The officers were rushed to a nearby hospital where they are listed in critical condition but are recovering. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he visited the officers and their families Saturday morning. 

“I am thankful for doctors and nurses at Orlando Health and all of those who quickly responded and are providing the essential care these officers need during this critical time. My thoughts and prayers are with those courageous officers, their families and our entire Orlando Police Department,” Dyer said in a statement.

The names of the officers have not been released. Smith said their identities will remain protected under Marsy’s Law. 

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