ORLANDO, Fla. – The man who shot two Orlando police officers was stopped by police at the University of Central Florida weeks before the shooting, records show.
On June 30, two police officers with the UCF Police Department stopped a red vehicle with a suspected stolen tag.
According to court records, when the officers learned the driver had an active arrest warrant, the driver, identified as Daton Viel, ran away, got back to his car and drove off.
On Saturday, Viel, 28, was killed by an Orlando Police SWAT team, hours after he had shot and critically wounded two officers.
Three newly-released body-worn camera videos from UCF police shows how officers conducted their traffic stop, including how Viel managed to elude them and drive away.
Officers stopped Viel’s red 2016 Ford Fusion on Research Parkway after a license plate reader at UCF detected the vehicle’s stolen tag.
The videos show officers had Viel step out of the car as they questioned him about the stolen tag. He denies knowing anything about that and tells officers to run the vehicle identification number on the car to prove it belongs to Viel.
[BODY CAMERA VIDEO 1]
In one video, Viel is heard telling the officers that his insurance was suspended last month and he really shouldn’t be driving. He was bringing his girlfriend, who lived on campus, back home.
In another video, we can hear dispatch telling the officer removing the stolen tag, “I’m still running him all the way, but he is wanted out of Orange County for trespassing.”
The officer then walks over to Viel and asks him to turn around. Another officer says they have a warrant for Viel’s arrest. That’s when Viel is seen running.
[BODY CAMERA VIDEO 2]
Officers chase Viel on foot as he runs across the street, two of them with Tasers in hand. One of the officers slips and falls down during the chase. During the videos, you can hear one of the officers yell “stay with the car.”
But Viel is able to get back to his car and takes off.
In one video, an officer can be heard saying “should have grabbed those keys. My bad.”
In another video, another officer asks for help finding his glasses and gun magazine, which were dropped in the chase.
[BODY CAMERA VIDEO 3]
Miami police say the same red Ford Fusion was caught on camera leaving the scene of a murder on July 10.
That vehicle was spotted again on Friday night by two police officers in downtown Orlando, who were later critically wounded by Viel, investigators say.
Following the announcement from law enforcement that the suspect vehicle had been detected by license plate readers installed in the area, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the readers are a critical tool for law enforcement.
“I can’t imagine doing police work without it,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood said he first installed LPRs in 2010 while he served as Daytona Beach Police Chief. At the time, it was met with a lot of public speculation.
“There’s always pushback. ‘Big Brother is spying on us.’ You’re tracking, and in reality, that’s not what it’s used for. It’s used for violent crime,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood said he expects the devices to become more common as technology advances.
“Whenever something happens, share as much information as possible. Everyone may each have a little bit of piece of technology than the other one, but when you put it together, it gives you the picture we are looking for,” Chitwood said.
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