By Desiree Stennett
ORLANDO — The suspect at the center of the deadly confrontation at Vixen Bar in downtown Orlando on Tuesday morning was armed with a stolen but unloaded handgun, according to an arrest report released Wednesday.
And although Orlando police say the woman killed inside the bar was shot by an officer's stray bullet, the suspect, 23-year-old Kody Roach of Winter Park, could be held legally responsible in her death.
Roach was facing a charge of carrying a concealed weapon Wednesday afternoon. Orange County deputies say he stole a .40-caliber Ruger handgun and 13 hollow-point bullets after a previous night of drinking with friends that lasted into early Sunday morning.
The gun was tucked in Roach's waistband when Orlando police Officer Eduardo Sanguino fired off nine rounds outside Vixen Bar on South Orange Avenue just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, the report said.
Roach was struck several times, while Lt. Frank Nunez, a 19-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, was also injured. Bar patron Maria Fernanda Godinez, 22, was killed.
Roach could face other charges related to the incident, including felony murder in the woman's death, said Richard Hornsby, an Orlando defense attorney.
"Whenever you commit a felony or attempt to commit a felony and in the commission of that felony another person dies, you are treated as legally responsible for that death," said Hornsby.
Based on the claims in Roach's arrest report, he could also face charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and improper exhibition of a firearm, Hornsby said.
He has not been charged in the stolen-gun case, either. According to an incident report released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Roach had been drinking with 21-year-old Elliot Martin on Saturday night. Afterward, the two men went to a friend's apartment, but Roach was kicked out when he started acting "reckless," Martin told deputies.
Martin said Roach came back later in the night, and by morning a semi-automatic handgun was missing.
Roach has a criminal history dating back to 2009 that includes charges of battery on a law-enforcement officer, grand theft, violating probation and driving with a suspended license.
The downtown confrontation early Tuesday morning began with what witnesses and police say was a drunken night.
Inside the Vixen Bar, Roach was "becoming increasingly belligerent and repeatedly bumping into patrons," his arrest report said.
One patron spotted the handgun in Roach's waistband and alerted bar security.
A bar employee who called 911 told a dispatcher that Roach brandished the weapon inside the club and placed it on the bar top at one point during the night.
Roach was pushed outside and locked out of the bar. He responded by beating on the door with the gun's muzzle and demanding to be let back in, the report said.
Witnesses could hear the gun banging against the door from across the street.
By the time Sanguino and another bike-patrol officer, Jeff Angel, arrived, Roach's weapon was back in his waistband and hidden by his loose-fitting shirt, the report said.
Based on several 911 calls, officers knew Roach was armed. Sanguino and Angel repeatedly ordered Roach to the ground, and when he wouldn't comply, Angel attempted to shock Roach with a stun gun.
The prongs from Angel's Taser were tangled in Roach's shirt, preventing a shock that might have brought the suspect to the ground. The report said Roach then turned away and lifted the front of his shirt.
That's when Sanguino starting firing, thinking that Roach was reaching for the gun in his waistband, the report said.
Sanguino and Angel were both put on paid administrative leave after the shooting. The report did not say whether Angel fired his weapon or specify whether investigators think Sanguino also shot Nunez.
"A lot of people are saying Kody is coldhearted, and he deserves this," said Joseph VanWinkle, who has known Roach since the suspect was a freshman at Edgewater High School. "But Kody doesn't deserve this. ... If he never discharged his weapon, there was no reason for them to open fire on him. This is uncalled-for. There had to have been other ways, other procedures."
VanWinkle, 25, of Orlando extended prayers to the victim's family but defended Roach. He said Roach had recently injured his hand and likely underestimated the dangerous and powerful combination of his prescription painkillers and alcohol.
"I know Kody is not a killer," VanWinkle said. "This is my friend. This is my buddy. I grew up with this guy."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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