ORLANDO, Fla. - WFTV obtained a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report that reveals details about the night an Orlando police officer opened fire on a suspect.
According to the report, Officer David Johnston fired a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle 23 times, but kept firing after the suspect’s car crashed.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said it’s a rarity for the state attorney to prosecute both the suspect and responding officer from the same incident, but something stuck out about Johnston’s alleged actions during the February arrest of 27-year-old Derrick Lattimore.
“The conduct has to be pretty egregious for a juror to come back and say, ‘We’re going to find him guilty,’” Sheaffer said.
Lattimore is facing six charges, including aggravated assault with a firearm after a domestic violence incident. He’s accused of threatening his girlfriend’s life, then fleeing deputies by car when he was confronted on the fifth floor of a downtown Orlando parking garage.
According to police, the first two officers Lattimore encountered opened as he sped away.
Police said Lattimore tried to run over the officers.
When Lattimore reached the bottom floor of the garage, Johnston picked up pursuit and fired nearly two dozen times, including after Lattimore crashed.
Lattimore was not shot during the incident, but Johnston is facing criminal charges.
“Certainly the state is going to argue that firing that weapon 23 times once that car had crashed is excessive and over the top,” Sheaffer said.
Sheaffer said he believes the state will still have a hard time getting a conviction because he said jurors like to side with law enforcement, and the state will have to prove the shots were excessive after two other officers also discharged their weapons.
"The state has a difficult case," he said. "Jurors want to side with law enforcement and we have a dangerous fleeing felon when this officer fired his weapon."