FDLE investigates shooting involving Clermont police officer

FDLE investigates shooting involving Clermont police officer

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A day after exchanging gunfire with a Clermont police officer, a man has died. 

Investigators are trying to find out what led to the shooting, which happened around noon in McKinley Park near Clermont Elementary. 

The man, 21-year-old Joshua M. Waldron, was sitting on a bench smoking when Officer James Rooney approached him.

"The subject drew a weapon, fired at the officer.  The officer returned fire," said Lt. Michael McMaster, a spokesman with the Clermont Police Department.   "A foot pursuit ensued."

Investigators said Waldron ran three blocks before he was found on the ground, in a field and on his back with a gun beside.  "He had what appeared to be a single gunshot wound."

Waldron was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center suffering from a head wound.  Officials said he died early Wednesday morning at approximately 2:17 a.m.  It is unknown at this time if the Waldon's wound was self inflicted or caused by Officer Rooney, and it is still unclear what prompted Waldron to fire at the officer.   Rooney was not injured in the shooting.

"I was actually kind of scared at first, because I was standing outside when I heard the first shot," said Angel Lopez, was holding his baby just a short distance away when it happened.  "I ran right inside when it happened."

Lopez said he heard what sounded like fireworks.   "One at first, and then I came inside, and then I didn't hear much, because I put the TV on."

Lopez said he lived next door and was acquainted with the suspect.  "Not the personality he's shown," Lopez said. "He's just a neighbor that lives next door. He's very friendly."

During the shooting, Clermont Elementary was put on lockdown to keep the children safe.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.  Officer James Rooney is a 12-year veteran.  He has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators said Waldron has a criminal history dating back to 2003.

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