ORLANDO, Fla. - Could a deadly 2018 standoff where four children were killed all been avoided?
An internal affairs report from the Orlando Police Department (OPD) claims that a Sergeant violated policy when she ordered Officer Kevin Valencia to breach a door trying to save the children inside.
It’s a night many won’t forget when a standoff turned deadly.
Mother, Ciara Lopez, called 911 saying she ran away from her boyfriend after he beat her, but that their four kids were still inside and that the suspect, Gary Lindsey Junior was armed. Officer Valencia can be seen on body camera moments before he was given the order by Sgt. Amanda White to boot in the door after the key failed to work.
The suspect shot through the door striking Valencia in the head. Over 21 hours later the standoff came to an end.
Officers found Lindsey had killed himself and all four kids.
An internal affairs investigation found that Sgt. White violated department policy and was cited for carelessness.
OPD officials said Wednesday at the Orlando Citizens Police Review Board, that “Unfortunately in this case, there wasn’t any exigent circumstances and the decision to breach the door quite bluntly should not have been made.”
The department said she had no reason to believe the children were being harmed other than a gut feeling and she should have called for backup.
Officials said, “there was no sounds coming from the apartment.”
All eight officers responding to the initial domestic violence call said they never heard a sound from any of the children aged one to 12 years old from the time they arrived and demanded Lindsey open the door to when shots were fired during the breach. The medical examiner ruled that the children were shot long before Lindsey took his own life. They died shortly after their last meal. All four of them wearing their pajamas and laying in bed.
Sgt. White told investigators she knew Lindsey had a gun and a criminal history and worried for the four kids in there with him, which is why she said she made the call to breach the door. She said she knew “there was something wrong inside.”
For the policy violation, the department said her actions were in the interest of safety and was given an 8-hour suspension.
She still works at OPD and Officer Valencia remains in a coma.