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Officer shoots, kills gunman near Orlando Wahlburgers, police say

Heavy law enforcement presence near Orange Ave., police say

ORLANDO, Fla. – Authorities were investigating an officer-involved shooting Wednesday in downtown Orlando, according to the Orlando Police Department.

Officers said the shooting took place after a man walked into the Wahlburger's restaurant on South Orange Avenue around 11:00 a.m. and showed a weapon to someone before leaving.

The suspect, who was known to an employee at the restaurant, left with the weapon and employees followed him until authorities arrived, police said.

When police arrived and found the man near the intersection of South Street and Hughey Avenue, they ordered him to drop his weapon, but he refused, prompting officers to fire their guns, police said.

"The suspect was given verbal commands to drop his weapon which was still in his hand. He ignored the verbal commands," Deputy Chief Eric Smith said. "The officers were forced to discharge their issued service weapons, striking the suspect."

The man, identified as 48-year-old Qawi Muhammad, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, according to police.

Police said one of the employees at the restaurant had a domestic violence injunction against him.

Authorities said it was not immediately known how many officers fired their guns.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, police said.

Officers said around 11:45 a.m. that a heavy law enforcement presence was in the area of Church Street and Orange Avenue due to the shooting.

Police vehicles and a crime scene investigation van could be seen outside the restaurant.

Kimberly Simeone, a spokeswoman for Wahlburgers said the restaurant had just opened shortly before the suspect entered the business, so no guests were inside at the time.

Simeone said surveillance video is always being recorded at the restaurant, so she hopes it will help law enforcement officers with the investigation.

Some of the employees ran after the man while others fled or called police, Simeone said.

"We are so proud of our staff. They reacted immediately. They did what they had to do. They called 911," Simeone said. "The details and the description they were able to provide let police control the situation immediately."

Counselors will be available to employees Wednesday and the restaurant will be closed for the rest of the day, according to Simeone.


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