A police officer was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the tiny town of Windermere, an Orlando suburb with one of the lowest crime rates in Florida. Investigators are now trying to piece together what set off the bizarre tragedy, which ended when the suspects apparently committed suicide just minutes after shooting Officer Robert German, 31.
German stopped the young man and woman who were walking on Conroy-Windermere Road in the quiet town of fewer than 3,000 people, at about 4 am. What transpired next is still not clear, but German radioed for help from other officers. Police are still not sure what happened to make him call for backup.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, they found the promising young police officer lying on the ground, shot. A deputy placed the fallen officer in his squad car and rushed him to the local fire department. He was then taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he died of his wounds.
“He just said he was doing a subject stop and then all the tragic events unfolded,” said Orlando County Sheriff’s Spokesperson Jane Watrel said.
The suspects fled from the scene on foot, running past the local post office. But when police officers approached, they heard gunshots. When officers reached the two suspects, both were dead. Apparently the young man and woman shot themselves.
The names of the dead suspects have not been made public, as police try to understand the horrific events that have shaken the sleepy town. Windermere had never seen a police officer killed in the line of duty in the 90 years since the town was chartered.
“Violent crime is just not something that happens in the town of Windermere,” said the small town’s mayor, Gary Bruhn. “So it’s really, really difficult.”
Winderemere has just 12 full-time police officers. Robert German was a police officer for five years on the Windermere force, though friends said he turned down chances to join the police in bigger municipalities where he could have earned more money.
“He was dedicated to the people of Windermere,” said his friend, Bryan Burke, a police officer in a nearby town.
The slain police officer had only recently been taken off desk duty as he recovered from a shoulder injury.
Though German was the first in Windermere, just six weeks ago a police officer was shot and killed in a neighborhood about a mile away from where German was shot.
Image: Windermere Police Department