Body camera not on during officer shooting
The body camera worn by a slain central Florida police officer was turned off when he stopped two young people on foot and was killed, investigators said Tuesday.
Windermere Police Officer Robert German was on duty early Saturday in the Orlando suburb when he called for backup and was found shot dead.
The bodies of the two teens he is believed to have stopped were found in nearby woods. Eighteen-year-old Brandon Goode and 17-year-old Alexandria Hollinghurst have been named suspects. Investigators said they believe they committed suicide.
Orange County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jane Watrel said detectives are canvassing nearby businesses to look for any other potential video.
"It's a piece of the investigation but it's a lot that our investigators are looking for," Watrel said of the body camera.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office also released a timeline of events on Tuesday, as well as copies of letters investigators consider suicide notes by Goode and Hollinghurst.
Hollinghurst's mother reported her missing last Thursday, but the teen returned while a deputy was at the home.
The following day, Goode's mother reported her son missing and said she had found a suicide note.
"I don't want to go through life knowing because of my mistakes that I amounted to nothing," he wrote.
Deputies discovered Hollinghurst was also missing about an hour later. Her mother also discovered a note.
"Every day became harder and harder," she wrote in a letter to her father.
In other letters released by detectives the couple professed their love for one another. Both wrote that they had gotten engaged and talked about all the things they wanted to do. Hollinghurst's list included "kiss a lot" and "live somewhere nice, far away from here." Goode wrote of stealing a boat in Clearwater and sailing to Panama.
Law enforcement agencies around Florida, and especially in Clearwater, were alerted to be on the lookout.
Police in Windermere, where Goode's father lives, were also alerted.
Goode's car was spotted later that Friday morning at a shopping plaza in Kissimmee. When an officer approached Goode, investigators say he cooperated but then fled the scene. A female was in the vehicle with him. Kissimmee police obtained a warrant that afternoon for resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and reckless driving.
German was apparently the next officer to find them, at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, walking in Windermere.
The details of what happened next remain somewhat of a mystery. As officers responded to provide German backup, they heard shots fired nearby. German was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The couple was found soon thereafter.
German, 31, had worked for the Windermere Police Department for five years. He had recently returned from medical leave.
His was the first line-of-duty death in the small town's history.
Visitation for German is scheduled for Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Northland Church in Longwood. Graveside services and burial will take place Thursday at 10 a.m. at Oaklawn Cemetery in Sanford. Services are open to the public.
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