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Friday, May 24, 2019

Orlando officer won't be charged with manslaughter for Colonial Plaza shooting, prosecutors say

Posted By on Fri, May 24, 2019 at 4:43 PM

  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons
State prosecutors have declined to pursue charges against Officer Anthony Wongshue of the Orlando Police Department, after he was indicted on a manslaughter charge stemming from a May 2018 shooting at Colonial Plaza.

Wongshue, a 16-year veteran of law enforcement, was notified of his indictment and opted to turn himself into authorities on May 16, police say.

In a statement from her office, Orange-Osceola state attorney Aramis Ayala tells Orlando Weekly that despite being indicted by a grand jury, her office opted to not pursue charges.

"Although a grand jury found probable cause to move forward and charge the officer involved in the shooting, when my team of prosecutors considered the evidence in light of the anticipated interpretation of the facts and current state law, it became apparent it would be incredibly difficult to obtain a conviction," Ayala says.

Ayala adds: "Every prosecution this office pursues requires full confidence that we can prove the case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt considering the facts and Florida law."
  • Photo cred:

According to investigators, in May 2018 at the Colonial Plaza shopping center, Wongshue and Officer Juan Abreu approached a minivan after two women were accused of shoplifting. The two women, later revealed as Jocelyn Villot and Brittany Chandler, entered a van driven by 32-year-old Juan Silva. Cell phone footage obtained by WKMG shows the officers standing on either side of the van as it began to drive away.

The video then shows one officer firing into the driver's side of the vehicle, as the other officer fires into the vehicle's rear window.

The vehicle was found about a mile away. Silva was found inside the vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Abreu was cleared of his involvement in the shooting by the state attorney's office in March, police say.

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