Police: Winter Park wedding guest fatally shot by officer shoved people, grabbed woman’s neck

WINTER PARK, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating after a police officer shot and killed a man at Winter Park’s new library and events center.


Around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, police started getting 911 calls from partygoers about someone starting fights at a wedding celebration. Police said one of the callers said a man was “grabbing people by the neck” and “shoving people to the floor.”

In audio released Monday, a caller said, “He’s grabbing an older woman and shoving her.” The suspect was described as “violent” and “very drunk.”

“It’s getting bad,” the caller said.

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Winter Park police said Daniel Patrick Knight, 39, was celebrating his niece’s wedding at the Winter Park Events Center.

“It appeared he was going up to several people inside the party where he was battering people. It started inside the events center and ended up outside,” police said.

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Investigators said when the first officer approached Knight, “there was a physical altercation that our officer was unconscious and incapacitated.” Police said that officer was punched in the face.

Additional officers arrived. According to police, a second officer tried to calm Knight without success. Police said the second officer used a stun gun on Knight but it caused “no change in behavior” and Knight continued to strike the officer.

Police said the second officer then shot Knight, who died later at a hospital.

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The officer involved in the shooting is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is working to determine if this shooting was justified.

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Winter Park police’s use of force policy lists levels of resistance to justify using deadly force. It says: “deadly force resistance is a subject’s hostile, attacking movements with or without a weapon that create a reasonable perception by the officer that the subject has the capability and intent to cause death or great bodily harm to the officers or others.”

The department’s policy states an officer can use deadly force: “when the officer reasonably believes such force is necessary to defend themselves or another from bodily harm while making an arrest.”

Knight’s family admits that he was drinking Saturday night, but they said Knight didn’t deserve to die.

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They said police should have used a nonlethal method to subdue him.

The family has hired an attorney.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.