WINDERMERE, Fla. — A Windermere police officer was killed in a shooting early Saturday morning, and two suspects are believed to have committed suicide nearby, authorities said.
Officer Robert German, 31, a five-year veteran with the department, was investigating two suspicious people who were walking near Conroy-Windermere Road and Horizon Circle, when he called for backup at about 3:30 a.m.
"The deputy knew he had a suspicious set of circumstances, so he called for backup,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
When an Orange County deputy and an Orlando Police Department corporal arrived at the scene, German had been shot.
"They heard gunfire in the background. They went up and used the police vehicles to shield themselves and the officer," said Demings.
Demings said he believes the gunfire was coming from the suspects. A perimeter patrol was set up, and the male and female suspects, who are in their late teens or early 20s, were found dead nearby.
Demings said authorities believe they know who the suspects are, but they still need to confirm their identities before releasing that information to the media. He could not say specifically why German had stopped them or what made them suspicious.
"Officer German was a good cop. He was one of the finest police officers we've had," Windermere Police Chief David Ogden said.
"We ask that you give the Windermere Police Department, our officers and the family some time to get through this tragedy," he said.
Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn said he spent time with German's family Saturday morning.
"One thing his mother shared with me is how he loved being an officer and how he loved being in Windermere," he said. "He was an individual who loved his job and it showed."
Demings said Orange County deputies will be responding to calls in Windermere until officers have time to recover.
Last month, Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy Scott Pine was killed about a half mile from where German was killed.
Pine, 34, was responding to a car burglary at Apopka-Vineland Road and Westminster Abbey Boulevard early in the morning of Feb. 11. He was shot three times by 28-year-old Benjamin Holtermann, deputies said. Holtermann was found dead nearby with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On his personal Facebook page, German made a post honoring Pine the day he was killed.
"What you see now is just indicative of what goes on in our society. Sometimes people do things and they don't give it a lot of thought, and sadly there are three people dead because of it," Demings said.
German is the first Windermere Police Department officer to by killed in the line of duty in the history of the department.
Authorities planned to give another update later Saturday morning.
Reprinted with permission from WESH