Maria Godinez, 22, was killed by a stray bullet fired by Orlando police officer Eduardo Sanguino on Tuesday. The bullet was intended for Kody Roach, a man who had just been removed from a club for brandishing a firearm. The case is making headlines because Roach, not officer Sanguino, is being charged with Godinez’s murder.
Both Godinez and Roach were at Vixen Bar in Orlando, Florida on the night Godinez died. Police showed up to the club to arrest Roach, who was kicked out for brandishing a firearm inside. It was later revealed that his gun was unloaded.
Bouncers removed Roach from the club without using firearms or weapons. Surveillance video shows Roach dropped his gun once he was outside. When police arrived, they tased Roach. The tase allegedly had little effect on him. He then made a sudden movement, and police opened fire.
One of the bullets hit Godinez, who was standing roughly six feet inside the club. She died soon after.
In a move that’s drawing public criticism, prosecutors have decided to charge Roach with Godinez’s death. They reason that since police fired shots in response to Roach’s crime, he is responsible for the fallout from the shots.
The Free Thought Project spoke with legal analyst Brandan Davies about the charge.
“You don’t have to be the person whom actually pulls the trigger or does the killing. If someone is killed during the commission of the felony and it is an inherently dangerous felony, the person who committed the underlying felony can be charged with murder.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said incidents like this are one of the “most challenging aspects of police work.”
"As police officers, our job is to protect the public and keep our residents safe, and one of the most challenging aspects of our job is when criminal activity affects innocent bystanders,” Mina said.
Officer Sanguino is now on paid administrative leave. He will remain off-duty until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement finishes investigating the event.