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Wife of Orlando officer shot during standoff sues estate of shooter, apartment complex

Kevin Valencia remains hospitalized nearly 1 year later

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The wife of Orlando police officer Kevin Valencia, who was shot during a standoff last year at an apartment complex, filed a lawsuit this month against the estate of the man who critically wounded the officer and fatally shot four children, before killing himself. She is also suing the apartment complex where the shooting took place because, according to the lawsuit, Lindsey should not have been living there with his criminal history.

An attorney for Meghan Valencia, the wife of Orlando police Officer Kevin Valencia, filed a complaint April 4 in Orange County Ninth Judicial Circuit Court against Pinnacle Property Management Services, Westbrook Apartments and the estate of Gary Lindsey Jr.

Pinnacle Property Management Services manages the Westbrook Apartments on Eaglesmere Drive, where the suspect, his girlfriend and their four children lived in apartment No. 127.

Lindsey shot Valencia, who responded to the domestic violence incident, on June 10, 2018, prompting a 24-hour standoff during which time he fatally shot Irayan Pluth, 12, Lillia Pluth, 10, Aidan Lindsey, 6, and Dove Lindsey, 1.

Almost a year later, Valencia, who suffered catastrophic injuries, has never fully recovered and remains hospitalized.

According to the complaint, Meghan Valencia is suing the apartment complex and the management company because Lindsey, as a convicted felon with a violent criminal history, should not have been living there.

To protect its residents and the general public, Westbrook Apartments is required to run a background and credit check on any tenant living in the complex. The lawsuit alleges Pinnacle either conducted a background check and knew of Lindsey's criminal history or failed to conduct one at all despite knowing he was living there.

"As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ negligence, recklessness and carelessness, Kevin suffered serious injuries and damages," the lawsuit states.

Criminal records showed, at the time of the shooting, Lindsey was on supervised probation for an arson conviction in Volusia County when he attempted to burn his ex-girlfriend's home down.  In another incident in Orange County, authorities said Lindsey was accused of pulling a knife on his girlfriend and threatening to kill her while she had their 7-month-old son in her arms. 

The lawsuit also claims the apartment complex failed to provide working locks at the apartment, causing Valencia to be unable to unlock the door.

The night of the standoff, Lindsey's girlfriend -- the mother of his two children -- called 911 fearing her children were in danger. She gave Valencia a key to the apartment but he was unable to unlock the door, according to the lawsuit. Lopez told officers that sometimes the lock did not work correctly.

Officer Kevin Valencia knocks on an apartment door where Gary Lindsey Jr. was inside with four children. Authorities say Lindsey shot Valencia in the head then later killed himself and the four children.

"Unable to gain entry into Apartment No. 127, using Ms. Lopez’s key, believed to be
due to a defective lock on Apartment No. 127, Kevin was forced to attempt to kick in the door of
Apartment No. 127," the lawsuit states. "After making several attempts to kick in the door, but before gaining entry through the door, Lindsey fired a gunshot from inside Apartment No. 127 though the door, which struck Kevin in the head."

Valencia is seeking $15,000 in damages at a minimum for the Valencia family, however that amount could be higher based on the outcome of the lawsuit.

The Valencia family attorney declined to comment for this story.

The Orlando Police Department said they were not aware of this but the City of Orlando is not a party to the lawsuit. 

News 6 reached out to the apartment complex owners for comment. This story will be updated when they respond.


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