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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/25/2005 7:07:13 AM EDT
OPD mistakenly kills UCF officerBy Jay Hamburg, Erin Cox andSusan Jacobson

SentinelStaff Writers



September25, 2005, 12:32 AM EDT



Apre-game party before the Universityof Central Floridafootball home

openerturned deadly Saturday when an Orlandopolice officer shot and killed

anundercover university police officer working with state agents to stop

illegaldrinking.



Thedead UCF officer was identified as Mario Jenkins, a four-year veteran

withthe university police who was in his late 20s.



Hewas shot by Dennis Smith, a reserve officer for the Orlando Police

Departmentwho had retired after 25 years on the force. Smith was placed on

administrativeleave Saturday night, standard procedure in all shootings by

police.



AUCF student also was wounded in the fracas and was taken to Orlando

RegionalMedical Center.He was identified as Mike Young, in his early 20s,

byRachel Neal, an 18-year-old UCF student who said Young was her boyfriend.



Shesaid Young was walking to the portable toilets when he saw a fight and

triedto break it up. Neal was nearby when she heard two shots and saw Young

lyingon the ground.



Nealsaid that Young is studying to be a special-education teacher.



"Itwas devastating," said junior Nicole Jorgensen, 22, who watched the

sceneunfold as a brawl turned into a deadly shooting.



"Everyone'spretty shaken up," said 18-year-old Jon Negrini who comforted

severalfriends so upset that they were unable to speak. "We're leaving on a

busback to campus."



Theincident occurred shortly after 5 p.m. outside the Florida Citrus Bowl

inan area where students were tailgating and partying.



Officialdetails were sketchy late Saturday, but police and spectators said

Jenkinsapparently confronted a group of students who were drinking. The

students,some said, turned belligerent.



Witnessessaid Jenkins pulled out his badge and his gun and fired the

weapon.Some said he fired the gun into the air, and one person who claimed

tohave seen the incident said Jenkins shot a student in the leg.



MikeMcCormick, 22, a 2003 UCF graduate, said he saw the incident. He said

anundercover officer was investigating underage drinking when a scuffle

began.He said Young, a UCF fan, grabbed the undercover officer. Others said

Youngtried to stop a fight.



McCormick,who is from Jacksonville Beach,said Jenkins pulled out his gun

andfired several shots.



Auniformed Orlandoofficer who was patrolling on a bicycle saw Jenkins fire

hisweapon.



"Theuniformed cop didn't know what was going on," McCormick said. "Hejust

sawsomebody holding a gun, and he shot the undercover cop three times in

theback -- boom, boom, boom."



UCFPresident John Hitt expressed sorrow about the incident.



"It'sgoing to change a lot of lives," he said.



Hittadded that the university will study the program that sends officers

suchas Jenkins undercover to stop illegal drinking.



TroyWilliamson, a spokesman for the UCF Police Department, said Jenkins

frequentlyworked with fraternities, many of which were tailgating in the

areawhere the incident happened. Jenkins began work on "Operation Knight

Watch"about 2 p.m. Saturday.



Hewas assisted by six other UCF officers and seven agents with the state

Divisionof Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to cut down on underage

drinking.



SeveralOrlando policeofficers also were patrolling in the area.



"Peoplesay, 'University police, who are they?' We have to remind them we

areofficers of the law, and we have a job to do," Williamson said.



Williamsonsaid the department's 50 officers are a close-knit community now

devastatedby the shooting.



"It'sgoing to be a black time for a couple weeks," Williamson said. On-duty

andoff-duty officers gathered at the hospital as soon as they heard of the

shooting."It's pretty tough right now. It's pretty awful."



TheFlorida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the

shooting,would not release any details of what happened, partly because

investigatorsare relying on statements from at least two busloads of

witnesses.



"Whenthe dust settles, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will have

ananswer to what happened tonight," said FDLE spokesman Geo Morales.



"It'stragic, and it's sad, and I'm real sorry that we have a University of

Central Florida officerthat was fatally wounded in this incident," said

Sgt.Barbara Jones, a spokeswoman for the Orlando Police Department.



NicoleJorgensen of Melbournesaid the incident was traumatic. Though she

didn'tknow any of the people involved, she said she saw Young, the student

whowas shot, wrestling with Jenkins.



"The[undercover] officer pulled out his badge and gun. This one guy

wouldn'tsurrender," Jorgensen said. "He shot three times in the air.

Anotherofficer shot the [undercover] guy. . . . It's pretty freaky. You

don'tthink you would see this at a UCF game."



EyewitnessJason Pfeiffer of Orlando, a 2003 UCF graduate, said the entire

eventwas unnecessary.



"Therenever should have been a gun pulled. It was excessive, no question

aboutit," Pfeiffer said. "Come on, it's a college-football game, and

they'retrying to arrest people for underage drinking. It's sad. This whole

thingcould have been avoided."



Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:16:00 AM EDT
The undercover guy was stupid to pull his gun and shoot it in the air.

Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:16:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2005 7:16:37 AM EDT by tc6969]
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