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Nov. 21, 2010 — Orlando

Two officers were investigating credit card thefts from LA Fitness lockers when they spotted three suspects fitting the thieves' descriptions in the parking lot.

A tactical unit was called. When the men returned to their minivan, they were boxed in by police cars.

Officers Timothy Kuzma and Randall Pennington said the van's driver and main suspect, Rogelio "Roger" Cortes, 38, rammed their unmarked car. Read more

They fired five shots into the van, hitting Cortes twice.

Cortes sued the city and settled out of court for $750,000.

His lawyers claimed that Sgt. Rhonda Huckleberry, who organized the investigation, was the wife of one of the victims of credit card theft and that Orlando Police never investigated the shooting scene or interviewed witnesses, and that they destroyed Cortes' van before processing it for evidence.

Video evidence from Target, and acceleration marks on the pavement, showed another police vehicle pushed Cortes' van into the unmarked car.

All of the officers were cleared, though the police chief said they could have used better judgment.

Charges against Cortes were dropped.

This was the 97th police shooting in Florida in 2010.

Four days earlier, one officer shot one person in St. Petersburg .

One day later, one officer shot one person in Miami Beach .

4 ways this case compares to others

  1. Officer Pennington was involved in one other shooting from 2009 to 2014. Eighty-five officers were involved in more than one shooting during that time period.
  2. Evidence in this case, and accounts given by officers and witnesses, included conflicting details. That was true for 27 other cases.
  3. A SWAT or tactical team was involved in the incident. Tactical teams are involved in 7 percent of police shootings.
  4. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Cortes's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.

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