Ocoee Florida Police Officer Found Guilty For Shooting Into Occupied House
Not only did officer Carlos Anglero shoot into a house, he shot into the wrong house. The 911 dispatcher gave him the wrong address.
On February 6, 2016, Anglero was dispatched to a domestic disturbance call. The Winter Garden police dispatcher told Anglero that a mother and daughter were arguing, that the daughter wanted to leave the house on Bent Grass Avenue, and her mother told her she was too drunk to drive and wouldn’t give her the car keys. The daughter called police and said she would wait for officers in the driveway.
The dispatcher, however, entered the street name as “Bend Grass” which is about a half mile away from the address given to the dispatcher.
Anglero turned off his headlights as he neared the house. There was no one waiting in the driveway. Two other officers and a trainee arrived. Officer Stephanie Roberts rang the bell and knocked on the door.
Trial testimony revealed that the homeowner, Christopher Lewis, woke up after hearing the noise. Christopher is a retired electrical engineer. His wife and their son, who is now 14, were in the house. He did not know who the people outside his door were and did not hear an answer when he asked who was there. He got his Glock 19 handgun, which he had never fired before, and walked back toward the door with it down by his side. Christopher Lewis testified that he did not point the gun at anyone, and that he had no idea that the people outside his house were police officers.
Officer Stephanie Roberts shined her flashlight through the pane of glass in the front door and yelled “gun”.
Officer Roberts testified that she fired about two shots through the glass and retreated. The homeowner, Christopher Lewis testified that he could feel a bullet whiz past his left ear, and that he dove to the ground in the room next to the foyer and yelled for his wife to call 911.
Anglero’s story was that he did not realize his partner fired the shots and thought they were coming from inside the house. Anglero fired through the door. A total of 9 bullets were fired.
Christopher’s wife was on the phone with 911 and was told by the dispatcher to have everyone come out of the house with their hands up. Christopher and his wife were handcuffed. His house was searched, purportedly for the woman who called 911 from a house that was actually a half mile way. Approximately 20 minutes later, the dispatcher radioed to Anglero that they were sent to the wrong address.
The photos of the damage to Christopher’s home caused by the officer’s bullets gives an idea of the fear he and his family experienced.
Prosecutor Deborah Barra argued Anglero shot to protect Roberts, who is his girlfriend, and was not met with an actual threat.
“He does not get to decide whose life matters most … and create actual harm to the Lewis family,” she said.
Defense lawyer James W. Smith III urged jurors to consider what Anglero knew and didn’t know as he was on the other side of the door.
“This man thought he was going to a domestic disturbance,” he said. “Mr. Lewis was, in his mind, a person not identifying himself with a gun.”
Anglero, 34-years old, was placed on unpaid administrative leave. He was indicted in October 2016 by a grand jury. He was charged with a second-degree felony for shooting into an occupied building.
On January 4, 2018, the jury deliberated for about 2 and half hours after a two-day trial, and returned the verdict of guilty. His sentencing is scheduled for March 27, 20 at 10 a.m.
The dispatcher who made the error in the name of the street was given a letter of counseling.
Officer Stephanie Roberts was fired for an unrelated reason. She was accused of being dishonest about overtime pay. In August 2016, Roberts filed a lawsuit against the City of Ocoee alleging racial and gender discrimination. Roberts is Latina. The city settled that lawsuit for $50,000. According to the settlement terms, Roberts was reinstated to the police department for one day to give her time to apply for disability retirement stemming from the February 2016 shooting.
Anglero has also filed a suit against the city alleging race discrimination. That suit is pending.