Officer shot during traffic stop in fair condition at hospital
A Cape Coral police officer remained hospitalized Monday after being shot in the abdomen during a routine traffic stop over the weekend.
Officer David Wagoner, 43, was listed in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital, according to hospital staff.
Neither he nor his family could be reached for comment.
“They are all doing extremely well,” Police Chief Jay Murphy said.
An account has been opened at TIB Bank for those who want to make a financial contribution to Wagoner’s family. The account is called the “Cape Coral FOP Special Needs Account.”
“Cape Coral is a big city,” Murphy said, “but when something like this happens, it reverts to its small town roots.”
“The community’s been great,” he added.
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. Saturday in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Boulevard, 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 blank range. Two bullets hit Wagoner’s bullet-proof 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 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 in the 1100 block of Santa Barbara Boulevard North.
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.
Wagoner was transported to Lee Memorial with life-threatening injuries, according to police. He underwent emergency surgery for the gunshot wound.
Cape police began a 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.
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 booked into the Lee County Jail on one count of homicide murder while engaged in a certain felony offense.
The woman was not charged in connection to the incident.
Police reportedly recovered the firearm used to shoot Wagoner.
With the CCPD since July 2007, Wagoner is a husband and father.
“Last night was a reminder to police officers and citizens alike of the inherent dangers that officers face,” Lt. Tony Sizemore wrote in a prepared statement.
“It is not a cliche 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,” he 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 without bond. He has a court date set for May 16.
According to police, Rivera is a documented gang member of the Krazy Getdown Boys, or KGB. It is a statutorily recognized criminal street gang.