Orlando police release statement after manslaughter charge dropped against officer

Master police Officer Anthony Wongshue won't be prosecuted

An Orlando officer who fatally shot a man is no longer facing a manslaughter charge.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A manslaughter charge against an Orlando officer who fatally shot a man at a shopping plaza on Colonial Drive last year has been dropped a little more than a week after his arrest.

Records show Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala filed a notice Friday indicating that master police Officer Anthony Wongshue would not be prosecuted.

"Although a grand jury found probable cause to move forward and charge the officer involved in the shooting, when my team of prosecutors considered the evidence in light of the anticipated interpretation of the facts and current state law, it became apparent it would be incredibly difficult to obtain a conviction," Ayala said in a statement.

Wongshue turned himself in on May 15 after he became aware of the indictment against him. He was released from jail hours later after posting bond.

On May 8, 2018, Wongshue responded to a report of a shoplifting at Colonial Plaza shopping center. He and Officer Juan Abreu surrounded a van in the parking lot that the suspects were inside. Wongshue opened fire at the van's driver, 32-year-old Juan Silva, as Silva tried to drive away. 

"A human life was tragically and unnecessarily lost.  And I understand how difficult and shocking this news may be for members of our community. I want the community to know that I hear them and I share their concerns," Ayala said in a news release. "As we contemplate how to prevent a situation like this from occurring again in our community, it is imperative that the community work to change the laws my office must uphold going forward."

Abreu also fired his weapon but was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Because the battery on Wongshue's body-worn camera died before the incident, the only video of the shooting came from a witness who was recording with a cellphone.

Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolon said Wongshue will remain on a limited-duty status pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Ayala said she plans to announce details on an upcoming series of community meetings to discuss "the law, hurdles to justice and how to overcome them."

"When we lose one member of our community in a manner such as this, we must come together, ask the difficult questions and find solutions that will make Orange and Osceola Counties a better and safer place for all who live here, serve here and those who visit us from around the world," Ayala said.   

Orlando Police released a statement about the chargest being dropped:

We have been informed that the State Attorney’s Office has dropped the charges against Master Police Officer Anthony Wong Shue. Now that the criminal proceedings in this case have concluded, our internal investigation will resume. Master Police Officer Wong Shue will remain on administrative duty pending the outcome of our internal investigation.

Check back for more updates on this developing story.