Cape officer in hospital following shooting
A Cape Coral police officer remains hospitalized after being shot in the abdomen during a routine traffic stop early this morning.
Officer David Wagoner, a four-year veteran with the department, was in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital this afternoon, according to hospital staff.
Neither he nor his family could be reached for comment.
Charged in the shooting was Yousel Lopez Rivera, 20, of 320 N.W. Third Lane.
According to police, Wagoner conducted a traffic stop on a Cadillac sedan at 12:41 a.m. in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Blvd. N. Upon approaching the driver’s window, he made contact with a 17-year-old woman. He asked for and received her driver’s license.
Wagoner then asked a man in the passenger’s seat if he had any identification. The man, later identified as Rivera, told the officer that he did not. Wagoner asked the driver to get her registration and proof of insurance as he walked around to the passenger’s window.
As he got to the window to obtain Rivera’s information, Rivera reportedly shot at Wagoner three times at point black range. Two bullets hit Wagoner’s ballistic vest, but the third bullet struck him in the abdomen. Wagoner drew his gun and returned fire.
Neither Rivera nor the driver was shot, according to police.
Wagoner notified dispatch via his police radio that he had been shot and provided them with a description of the alleged shooter and vehicle, as well as their direction of travel.
As Wagoner relayed the information and returned fire, Rivera jumped into the driver’s seat on top of the woman and began driving away. According to police, the woman was seat belted in. Rivera crashed the Cadillac into a home at 1138 Santa Barbara Blvd. N.
Rivera fled the scene on foot. The driver, along with a person inside the home, were injured during the crash. Both were reportedly transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Their hospital conditions could not be confirmed this afternoon.
Wagoner was transported to Lee Memorial with life-threatening injuries, according to police. He was stable today after undergoing emergency surgery for the gunshot wound.
After the shooting, Cape police began an intense manhunt for Rivera that involved K-9 units and the aviation unit. The Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search efforts, as well as helped handle incoming calls for service.
K-9 units tracked Rivera’s trail and found him hiding nearby in a garbage can next to a home, according to police. He was taken into custody and later booked into the Lee County Jail on one count of homicide murder while engaged in a certain felony offense.
As of this afternoon, the driver had not been charged in the shooting.
Police reportedly recovered the firearm used to shoot Wagoner.
CCPD spokesman Lt. Tony Sizemore said Wagoner is a husband and father.
“Last night was a reminder to police officers and citizens alike of the inherent dangers that officers face,” he wrote in a prepared statement. “It is not a cliché when it is said that officers put their lives on the line each and every day for their communities.”
“We are thankful for so many things today,” Sizemore continued. “We are thankful first and foremost that Officer Wagoner is alive … We are grateful for the partnerships that we have with the other law enforcement agencies in Southwest Florida.”
Rivera is being held at the jail without bond. He has a court date scheduled May 16.