Wife of man shot, killed by Orlando police demands answers

Juan Alberto Silva, 32, shot in Colonial Plaza on Monday

ORLANDO, Fla. – The wife of a man shot by Orlando police officers in a busy shopping center on Monday said she has a lot of questions to be answered.

Orlando police investigators said they were called to the Marshalls department store in Colonial Plaza just after noon on Monday for a reported shoplifting.

They said Master Police Officer Anthony Wongshue and Officer Juan Abreu tried to stop the two suspected shoplifters before they got inside a minivan driven by Juan Alberto Silva, 32.

Cellphone video obtained by News 6 shows officers with their guns drawn talking to the driver when he lets off the brake and drives away.

That's when the officers are seen firing several shots at the minivan.

Silva was later found dead inside the minivan about 1 mile away from the shopping center.

"I have so many questions because I’m never going to see my husband again," said Viridiana Silva in an interview with News 6 from her home in Texas.

She said she watched the cellphone video on clickorlando.com.

"He was nervous because they were pointing at him with a gun," she said.  "I don’t know what crossed his mind but it seems like he panicked. He pressed the gas pedal, like, I don’t know. He was running for his life."

Orlando police Chief John Mina said it was his officers who feared for their lives in that moment, causing them to fire their weapons.

Silva said her husband traveled to Orlando to work in construction.

She said he was sending money back to Texas to help care for the couple's five children.

She was asked who the women were that Silva was in the van with.

"I can’t explain because I don’t know what he was doing with them," she said. "I don’t know what happened. Why he took those women."

Silva said she has one big question for investigators.

"Why did they shoot him so many times? It was like more than five or six times. I think once was enough."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating the shooting, so an Orlando police spokesperson has declined comment on anything involving the shooting.

Another member of the family sent News 6 a statement that reads: "Juan was unjustifiably and unconstitutionally shot and killed by the Orlando police, a tragedy that should not occurred by seeing the witness video. There is no doubt Juan was in crisis and there's no evidence at scene to justify his death."

Meantime, the two women accused of shoplifting, 32-year-old Jocelyn Villot and 26-year-old Brittany Chandler, are now charged with felony murder for causing the death of Silva.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.