Man involved in officer-involved shooting at party blames actions on ‘a bad-quality batch of cocaine,’ arrest records show

ST. CLOUD, Fla. — The man involved in an officer-involved shooting last weekend in St. Cloud after returning to a party an opening fire told police his actions were likely due to a bad batch of cocaine, according to arrest records.

Jhon David Escobar, 31, is being charged with possession of cocaine, aggravated assault, firing into a building and attempted murder in connection with the shootout inside the Tohoqua community on March 1.

Escobar, a manager at a local car dealership, was rolled in a wheelchair in front of a judge on Tuesday. However, his official initial appearance was pushed back to Wednesday to give prosecutors more time to decide if they should file a motion to keep him locked up until the trial.

Read: Man arrested in connection with off-duty officer-involved shooting

Court records show that the party started at a neighbor’s house then moved to the home of off-duty Orlando police Officer Julian Ortiz. During the party, Escobar go into an argument with his girlfriend over another woman. After his girlfriend left, witnesses told police that Escobar started to get irate, possibly because of a lost cellphone.

When three men escorted him out, Escobar shouted, “I’m going to come back and I’m going to kill you,” court records state.

Police say Escobar was captured on Ring doorbell video returning to the party and kicking the front door. While others stepped onto the porch, he allegedly fired toward Ortiz and his pregnant wife, while another woman who was in-between them hit the ground.

Ortiz fired back and Escobar went down, records state. At the hospital, Escobar was in possession of a bag of cocaine.

According to the arrest, Escobar didn’t remember any of the altercation. Police asked Escobar “if he could possible have gotten a bad-quality batch of cocaine, and he said that must be the reason for his actions.”

Read: Father, son plead not guilty in murder of St. Cloud mother

Escobar remains locked up at the jail, and is in a wheelchair as a result of the shooting.

Ortiz was cleared to return to work on Tuesday.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.