MURDER USA: Four Florida officers moved in on gunman holding three people in a house, two officers shot, suspect dead
Chief O’Dell: This is a tough time in law enforcement. I would ask that you pray for the men and women of law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/MEp056LfSm
— Kissimmee Police (@kissimmeepolice) August 19, 2017
KISSIMMEE POLICE OFFICERS MURDERED
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — Police spokesman says two officers are in serious condition after being shot by the suspect. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office: Two police officers shot: Both officers were shot with a high powered rifle by one suspect.
Police on Twitter: Two police officers shot: 5100 block of Seaboard Avenue at 10:59 pm Aug. 15, 2017.
Please keep our two police officers in your prayers if you are inclined to do so. One officer was shot in both hands with a high powered rifle. The second officer was shot in the stomach with a high powered rifle. Both officers have very serious injuries and were shot by the same suspect. The suspect was shot and killed by police.
Gov. Rick Scott reassigns KPD officer shootings case
ORLANDO, Fla. – In an executive order issued Saturday evening, Gov. Rick Scott reassigned the prosecution of the man accused of shooting and killing two Kissimmee police officers from State Attorney Aramis Ayala.
Scott said he removed Ayala from the prosecution of Everett Glenn Miller, 45, because she refuses to seek the death penalty in any case prosecuted by her office.
Kissimmee police Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard were shot in a scuffle at about 9:30 p.m. Friday at Palmway and East Cypress streets near East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and North Main Street, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said.
Baxter died of his injuries at the scene. Howard succumbed to his injuries at Osceola Regional Medical Center Saturday.
Kissimmee police identified Miller as the suspect in the fatal shooting of the two police officers.
As with the other potentially capital cases from which the governor removed Ayala, Scott reassigned the case to state attorney Brad King.
This marks the 25th case the governor has removed Ayala from as part of an ongoing feud between the two after Ayala said in March that she would not consider the death penalty in any prosecution by her office.
The governor’s office issued the following release regarding the executive order:
Today, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 17-222 reassigning the case of Everette Glenn Miller from State Attorney Aramis Ayala to State Attorney Brad King. Everette Glenn Miller is accused of shooting and killing two Kissimmee police officers – Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard. In March, State Attorney Ayala unilaterally decided to not seek the death penalty in any case prosecuted by her office. As Governor, Governor Scott has sole authority in Florida to reassign cases when he determines that the reassignment will serve in the interest of justice.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Last night’s violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state. In Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence and those who attack our law enforcement. Today, I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night’s attack and their families receive the justice they deserve.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Two Florida police officers were brutally murdered and the victims’ families deserve a prosecutor who is willing to consider all sentences, including the death penalty – that is why the Governor and I agree the investigation and prosecution of this case must be reassigned.”
When asked for comment about being reassigned, Ayala told Channel 9 that her condolences are with the families of the fallen officers.
“My reaction right now is strictly to the victims. That’s it and we’ll deal with the rest of it as it comes but again I focus and I think that community should be focused on the victims,” said Ayala.
Scott’s power to strip Ayala of murder cases because she won’t seek the death penalty was tested before the state Supreme Court in June.
Ayala’s lawyer asked the court to block Scott from assigning her then-24 murder cases to a neighboring prosecutor.
Justices heard arguments in the dispute that began in March when Channel 9 broke that Ayala wouldn’t seek the death penalty against Markeith Loyd — who is charged with the fatal shooting of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton — or any other death case.
Scott said he reassigned the cases to State Attorney Brad King because Ayala wasn’t following Florida law. Ayala argues that Scott doesn’t have the right to take the cases from her because she’s independently elected.
Ayala sued Scott, claiming that he abused his authority by reassigning the cases. Justices scrutinized her attorney’s arguments.
“Your honor, respectfully, there is nothing in Florida law that requires State Attorney Ayala to seek the death penalty,” Roy Austin, Ayala’s attorney, said during the hearing.
Hear Ayala’s attorney’s reaction to the hearing below:
“This is not a question about seeking the death penalty,” Justice R. Fred Lewis said. “This is a question of following the statute and applying the death penalty. You may end up with a death penalty and others not.”
Austin said that Ayala had the authority to prosecute cases however she pleased.
He likened her decision to not seek the death penalty to other expensive cases in which prosecution is left up to a prosecutor’s discretion, like fraudulent checks or small amounts of marijuana possession.
Austin said a win for Scott would be unprecedented because the state’s highest office would have unfettered abilities to meddle with an independent justice system.
Watch the full hearing below:
The court will have to balance a desire to ensure that justice for murder suspects is consistent statewide with the need of keeping the governor in check.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
KISSIMMEE POLICE OFFICERS SHOT DEAD
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — One Kissimmee police officer has been killed and another is in grave condition after what authorities said was an ambush style shooting Friday night.
Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell, Officer Sam Howard, and Officer Matthew Baxter were shot when they responded to a call in the area of Palmway and Cypress streets shortly before 9:30 p.m.
Baxter, a 3-year veteran of the department has been pronounced dead and Howard, a 10-year veteran, was gravely injured, O’Dell said.
Police were called to the area to investigate a suspicious activity. As the officers arrived and began speaking with three people, a fourth person emerged and fired at police, authorities said. The officers did not have an opportunity to return fire, O’Dell said.
Police said the shooting happened in an area known for drug activity.
O’Dell said three people are in custody, but a fourth remains at large.
Kissimmee police said it has been 25 years since an officer died in the line of duty.
President Donald Trump tweeted early Saturday that his thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee Police Department.