ORLANDO, Fla. – A Marine has been arrested in connection to a fatal downtown shooting that killed a 34-year-old Army veteran, according to the Orlando Police Department.
Police said 25-year-old Shaun Engram was arrested Wednesday, four days after the homicide of Joseph Torres, who was shot to death early Sunday. Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said during a news conference Thursday that Engram had a minimal criminal history and was in the Marines for over three years.
Authorities were able to identify Engram after Orlando police Detective Teresa Sprague reviewed video of the incident and recognized him from an interview in January as a possible witness in another case.
She said Torres and his friend were downtown heading to get empanadas when video shows he walked through a group of people “without any problem.” Once Torres approached the second group, Sprague said Engram came off a wall he was leaning on and stopped him, telling him he couldn’t pass through there.
“Some words were exchanged, very minimum words were exchanged, this whole thing popped off in a matter of seconds,” she said.
Officers responded to the 20 block of North Orange Ave. around 2:30 a.m. Sunday after hearing gunshots and found Torres dead. Police said Torres was shot four times, three of which struck him, while the fourth hit his cellphone.
Sprague said Torres was killed on his 4-year-old daughter’s birthday. Officials said he had purchased a dress as a gift but did not have a chance to give it to her.
“You want to say, ‘Well, something must have happened.’ It didn’t because all this was, which is mind-boggling to me, (was) this father of three lost his life but survived Afghanistan,” she said.
She said the two men did not know each other “until that moment” and does not know if Engram “was looking for a fight” that night.
Eric Garcia knows nothing will bring back his good friend but he’s trying to recall the happy times and how Torres was such a family man.
“It’s just so unfortunate that (his life) was cut short now at such a young age when he had so much to live for,” Garcia said. “He just wanted to enjoy his life, enjoy his family, his children. He wanted to be there for his kids.”
Garcia said all of Torres’ friends are hurting and they’re trying their best to stay strong in light of this awful tragedy.
“You don’t get a pass for killing someone senselessly. That did not have to happen at all‚” Garcia said.
He reacted to Engram being a Marine.
“He was supposed to have honor and respect for just humans’ period, and for that to happen, it’s just unfortunate that another veteran does that to another veteran,” Garcia said.
If you want to help Torres’ family raise money for his funeral, click here.
In response to the uptick in crime downtown, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said these incidents are not just being seen in Orlando but in major cities nationwide.
“It’s not a situation where we have labeled it as a trend where the same groups or groups. These are individuals, some without, in this case in particular, without a criminal history that is significant or concerning, right?” Rolon said. “So, I think the bigger question is, ‘What is driving some individuals to take these type of actions against others?’”
Rolon said the investigation is “not over” and that there could be additional charges pending or may be pending for those involved in the incident.