Crime

The cop shot in the head in Orlando standoff was once a life-saving hero in Miami-Dade

The Orlando police officer who was shot and is in critical condition after responding to a domestic violence call worked for the Doral Police Department for three years and won an award after rescuing several people from a car that careened into a canal in 2015.

Kevin Valencia, in his late 20s, was responding to a woman at the Westwood Apartments near Universal Orlando late Sunday after she said her boyfriend had beaten her. As Valencia and other officers approached, there was an exchange of gunfire and the officer was shot in the head.

Police said Valencia was in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery.

For the next 21 hours, shooter Gary Lindsey Jr. barricaded himself inside the apartment with four children between ages 1 to 11. He spoke with police intermittently on his cellphone. Finally, at about 9 p.m. Monday, police tried to give Lindsay another cellphone and noticed one of the children was dead, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.

SWAT then entered the home and found the three other children dead and Lindsey dead inside a closet.

Lindsey, 35, had recently violated parole from a decade-old conviction and his parole officer recommended he go back to jail for six months, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Instead, he received six months of supervised probation.

Valencia, who joined the Orlando Police Department in 2016, served three years before that as an officer with the city of Doral in Miami-Dade County. In June 2015, he received a life-saving award after rescuing a group of people from a vehicle that had catapulted into a canal off of Northwest 25th Street, said Doral spokeswoman Natalie French.

A GoFundMe page was created soon after the officer was shot to help his family with expenses.

“Kevin and his wife have two small children ages 5 and 8 [months],” fellow Orlando officer Shawn Dunlap wrote on the site, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "Donations will help the family with short-term and long-term expenses while he fights to recover from these devastating injuries.”

  Comments