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March 15, 2012 — Lakeland

Officers were called to the Palms Mobile Home Park to stand by as Lisette Galarza retrieved her belongings from her boyfriend's apartment.

Galarza knocked on the door of Robert Allen Cortes' trailer and said the police were with her. Cortes opened the door carrying a handgun, the report stated.

The officers drew their weapons and told Cortes to put the gun down, which he did. The officers told Cortes, 42, to lie down on the ground, but he kept standing, then made a sudden movement toward the gun. Read more

The officers fired nine times, hitting him seven times in the back and arm.

Witnesses backed up the officers' account of what happened, though Galarza claimed Cortes had his hands at his sides when the officers fired. She also told investigators that Cortes had made suicidal statements. An autopsy showed that he had meth in his system.

His mother filed a federal suit against the officers and the City of Lakeland but was unsuccessful. She appealed.

The officers, Daniel Carli and Jordan Hernandez, were awarded the 2012 Medal of Valor from the police department.

This was the 26th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

Five days earlier, one officer shot one person in Orange Park .

One day later, two officers shot one person in Miramar .

6 ways this case compares to others

  1. Cortes was among the 7 percent of people who appeared to be on drugs before being shot.
  2. Cortes answered the door with a gun before being shot. Only 13 people were shot in similar circumstances.
  3. Cortes was one of 36 people shot in the back by police.
  4. Cortes was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  5. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Cortes's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.
  6. Cortes showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.

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