Orlando police officer arrested on manslaughter charge

Officer Anthony Wongshue released after posting bond

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager, Jerry Askin - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police officer was arrested late Wednesday on manslaughter charges in connection to a fatal shooting at the Colonial Plaza last year.

Master police Officer Anthony Wongshue was notified of his indictment and turned himself in to authorities. He was booked into the Orange County Jail but was released hours later after posting bond.

Wongshue, a 17-year law enforcement veteran, was involved in a controversial fatal shooting in May 2018 at the Colonial Plaza shopping center.

Investigators said Wongshue and Officer Juan Abreu approached a minivan after two women were accused of shoplifting. Juan Silva, 32, was driving the van, and both officers opened fire as he started to drive away, police said. The van was located about a mile away, and Silva was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds, according to officials.

The state attorney's office cleared Abreu for his involvement, police said.

Prosecutors say Abreau, who was on the passenger side of the van, fired two shots because he believed an Orlando police master sergeant, who was arriving on scene, was in the van’s path when it sped off.

Attorney Mark O’Mara has no relation to this case, but told News 6 he can see how a high stress situation may have led to gunfire, though he has more questions.

"I don’t know exactly what was happening with the exchange between the officer and the driver, and what level of animosity and threats were there," O'Mara said. "When a car takes off the same way this car did, unfortunately -- even well trained police officers -- your body, your brain doesn’t react well to times of extreme stress."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the shooting and turned over its findings to the state attorney's office in August.

Officials said Wongshue remains employed by the Orlando Police Department in an administrative status pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

News 6 has asked the Orlando Police Department to share Wongshue's personnel file. 

News 6 also spoke with Orange County Sheriff John Mina on Thurdsay. Mina was the Orlando police chief when the incident took place.

"(He's) a very good officer, in an extremely difficult situation there, so again, we respect the process and let it play out in court," Mina said. 

The Fraternal Order of Police released a statement Thursday saying that its members support Wongshue.

"We would ask that, as this long journey begins for Master Police Officer Wongshue to prepare and present his side of the story, that he be given the same courtesies, rights and protections that he has given to all others to whom he has sworn to protect for 16 plus years," the statement read, in part.

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