State attorney to OPD chief: Officer-involved shootings are "grave concern"

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney received a letter from State Attorney Jeff Ashton, stating Ashton's "grave concern" about the increase in deadly officer-involved-shootings.

In effect, Ashton has convened a grand jury to review the use of deadly force on January 16 by Orlando police.

Karvas Gamble was shot to death by Orlando police in a makeshift rap studio on Arlington Street.

Officers Anthony Mongelluzzo and Christopher Bigelow said they were following up on a drug investigation. They said that when they went inside, Gamble reached for a gun and took off running. Mongelluzzo and Bigelow said a second man, Cordaryl Wilson, also reached for his waistband. Both men were shot by the officers.

Gamble died from his injuries.

Inside the building, police said they found three guns.

Based on the investigation done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney's Office said it felt compelled to have a grand jury whether deadly force was justified by the police.

Ashton wrote: "The review will examine all aspects of the case, including the investigative and tactical decisions leading up to the contact with the subjects present at the scene, the use of deadly force, and the actions of the officers themselves."

Ashton told Rooney in the letter that he felt it was in the best interest of the public to ensure the community remains confident in those sworn to protect and serve.

Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo spoke with Wilson and the mother of Gamble Monday.

They said the shootings didn't have to happen.

"I feel like my life is gone as of January 16. Everything crumbled in my life, everything," said Tanjila Lippet, Gamble's mother.

Lippet said she wants the officer who shot her son to admit he made a mistake.

"I didn't open the door all the way and they shot me in two of my legs," Wilson said.

The 26-year-old just had the bullet removed; he showed Channel 9 the scars to prove it.

Police said their force was justified after finding drugs and three guns inside.

"All these are lies they put together to make it seem like they're right," Wilson said.

WFTV checked with FDLE; so far this year, it's looked into eight fatal officer-involved shootings in Orange County and Orlando.

Lippet agrees a review is necessary to ensure the public's confidence.

"My son didn't deserve to die," Lippet said.

Orlando police said it welcomes the review and will continue to provide full cooperation.

WFTV is talking to its legal analyst about what the grand jury might look for in this case, and the outcome of similar probes.