Deputy shoots man at WWE Performance Center

29-year-old taken to Orlando hospital with life-threatening injury

ORLANDO, Fla. – A 29-year-old "deranged" man was shot after charging at an Orange County deputy at the WWE Performance Center parking lot Monday afternoon, said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Deputies arrived at the training facility on Forsyth Road in Orlando around 1:30 p.m. after workers reported a man with a knife in the parking lot. Demings did not say if a knife was ever found at the scene.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries in critical but stable condition. The deputy, identified as Cpl. Stephen Wahl, was not injured.

Demings said two deputies went to the facility after being contacted by security because of the man, who had been trespassed from the WWE Performance Center.

"He's been somewhat fixed on one of the wrestlers, one of the female wrestlers," said Demings. "They had most recently consulted with the Sheriff's Office to hire extra duty deputies to work off duty. However today there was not an off-duty deputy working."

Demings said managers at the center told deputies it appeared the man was carrying a knife.

"So when the deputies encountered him they had their weapons drawn," said Demings. "At some point the individual charged a deputy. The deputy retreated 75 to 100 feet backwards, with his gun out, and at some point the individual began to close in on him. He fired one shot and struck the individual. This all happened very quickly -- in a matter of seconds."

Demings said the female wrestler with whom the man was obsessed was not at the facility Monday.

"As long as I've known him, he's never gone there with ill intentions," said Elvis Kalicharan of longtime friend Armando A. Montalvo. "He's just a silly little kid."

Kalicharan said the 29-year-old has mental health problems and was fixated on the WWE, but would never hurt anyone.

News 6 discovered the WWE had filed and was granted a restraining order on Aug. 14 in Orange County against 29-year-old Armando Montalvo of Orlando. "For reasons that are not entirely clear to Plaintiff, Defendant has made WWE the focus of Defendant's unhealthy and dangerous obsession," the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, "Not only has Defendant repeatedly trespassed on Plaintiff's property, but he has purposefully vandalized Plaintiff's Orlando-based training facility with his own excrement and terrorized Plaintiff's employees with verbal threats of harm and by threatening the use of deadly weapons."

A Twitter page belonging to an Armando A. Montalvo provides a link to a YouTube video, which appears to show a man outside a WWE facility outside pouring feces on the sidewalk.

The lawsuit also ordered Montalvo to pay $5,000 for damage he caused to the WWE facility.

Neighboring workers at the WWE complex said Montalvo returned during the day, armed with what appeared to be a chain.

"He was here with a chain, waving a chain, they took him down and arrested him," said Juan Rodriguez, who claimed to have witnessed the incident earlier in August. "He's waving the chain, telling the guy to come on, come on, and they took him down."

"Mentally, he's just a little kid. He loves wrestling, and this was his dream," Kalicharan said. "He wanted to be a wrestler."

Deputies said when they arrested Montalvo on Aug. 4, they found a chair, binoculars and a white board in his car with the words "Lita I Love you."

A deputy wrote in his report that while he was transporting Montalvo to jail, Montalvo "kept asking if I saw Lita while I was inside the WWE building. Armando kept stating that he loves Lita and that she is attractive. Armando also kept laughing and stating that what was happening is 'awesome.'"

Armando has been Baker Acted, arrested and the company was granted an injunction against him.

Armando's friends said the system failed.

"He's been through the system and they just let him out," said Kalicharan. "He has medicine that he has to take, but I don't know if he was taking it. Nobody really cares. Nobody tried to help him and this is what happens."

According to court records, deputies tried to serve Montalvo's mother with the injunction on Aug. 18 but she refused it.

Demings said the exchange on Monday was caught on security cameras. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the deputy-involved shooting.

Wahl will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in shootings.

Wahl is assigned to the OCSO Criminal Investigations Unit and has been with the agency since February 1997.

The WWE released a statement after the shooting, saying, "Unfortunately, a deranged individual with no WWE affiliation, who had a court order prohibiting him from being on WWE property, was involved in an incident with an Orange County sheriff's deputy in the parking lot of the WWE Performance Center.  We defer to the Orange County Sheriff's (Office) for further comment and information."

The performance center opened in 2013, and is the official wrestling school of WWE. The facility is 26,000 square feet and features seven training rings and edit and production facilities. 

A man is shot in Orange County.

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About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.