ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police Chief Eric Smith this week asked the community for help as his department investigates a fatal shooting that occurred last month near Pine Hills.
A news conference was held Thursday at the Orlando Police Department headquarters to discuss the homicide of 60-year-old Angela Washington — a military veteran in Operation Desert Storm — who was fatally shot Feb. 7 in the 5100 block of North Lane.
Smith was accompanied at the event by Crimeline Florida Executive Director Barb Bergin, Detective Barb Sharp of the department’s homicide unit and Fernando Washington, the victim’s son.
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Orlando police responded around 7 p.m. the day of the shooting, reporting officers located Washington lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound. Firefighters attempted to save Washington’s life but she later died, police said.
During the conference, Sharp said Washington had stopped at a convenience store on the way home.
Police believe Washington was not the intended target of the shooting, but rather a group of young men in front of the store.
According to police, Washington walked through the group of men on her way back to her vehicle, which is when she was shot.
Sharp said that several of the men at the shopping plaza at the time of the incident have already been contacted and interviewed, but she urged others to come forward.
“We just plead with them to understand the seriousness of this and how lucky they are to still be alive and be breathing,” Sharp said. “They should come forward if they know who this was because if they targeted them once, they would likely target them again.”
Officers said they know there were more witnesses to the shooting, and they believe that someone might have seen the suspected shooter’s vehicle, which was parked at the Walgreens across the street.
The vehicle — a dark-blue/black, four-door Mazda 3 — was last seen heading east along North Lane, Sharp said.
At the conference, Crimeline announced a potential financial reward of up to $10,000 to be offered to a tipster with information that leads to an arrest in the case.
Washington’s son, Fernando Washington, urged anyone who may have witnessed the scene to contact law enforcement.
“I plead with you to come forward and to bring that information,” he said. “Put yourself in my position. Think about it as if it was your mother who was tending to her own business and was struck down. Put yourself in the child’s position. What if it was you, minding your own business and was murdered. If you know something, say something.”
If you witnessed the shooting or have any information that could lead investigators to those responsible, you’re asked to call the OPD Homicide Unit or Crimeline at 800-423-8477.
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