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Police say bullet likely came from officer’s weapon; CCPD reviewing use of lethal force in case

By Staff | Mar 27, 2008

The Cape Coral Police Department has completed ballistics testing in a shooting that happened at a Taco Bell on Feb. 26, and officials are saying an involved officer’s weapon likely fired the bullet that injured a manager of the store.

The testing of bullet fragments removed from Taco Bell Manager Paul Price was inconclusive in attempting to identify a specific firearm, but from previous investigation and evidence, police think an officer’s gun shot Price, according to police spokesperson Dyan Lee.

Questions first arose as to who shot Price when it was learned that police staked out the Taco Bell at 11 Hancock Bridge Parkway W. and that armed-gunman Christopher Ward entered through a back door and took control of Price. According to officials, two rounds were fired. One round, fired from from the officer inside the building, struck Ward in the shoulder injuring him.

Price alleges Ward’s weapon was the one that fired the second round, striking him in the abdomen, but police believe it was the officer’s weapon, said Lee.

Lee said previously that the two Cape Taco Bells were staked out after police received a tip there could be a robbery, and the stores chose to remain open. But why Price opened the door for Ward given the information has not been revealed as part of the ongoing investigation.

The test results arrived on Chief Rob Petrovich’s desk on Monday and were sent on to the State Attorney’s Office for review, said Lee.

A use of lethal force review is also open and active regarding the involved officer. The review will be sent to the State Attorney’s Office, where it will be reviewed and sent back with recommendations.

The completed review will be made available depending on the status of the criminal investigation, Lee said.

“We’re trying to release what we can, but not jeopardize the investigation,” said Lee.

Three others were arrested and charged for their reported involvement in the robbery attempt: Crystal Colon, who police said masterminded the robbery to pay off traffic fines, Monique Bryant and Andy Garcia.

Ward, Garcia and Bryant have been released on bond pending trial. Colon remains in custody at the Lee County Jail, according to jail booking records.