Injured police officer returns home
A Cape Coral police officer who was shot in the line of duty over the weekend returned home from the hospital Thursday.
Officer David Wagoner, 43, was released from Lee Memorial Hospital at about 11:45 a.m. He received a police escort as he was driven home by an officer. His street was lined with officers who showed up to greet him, officials said.
“Officer Wagoner was in good spirits when he arrived home today,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, wrote in a prepared statement Thursday. “He shook hands and hugged his fellow officers when he got out of the car.”
“He’s going to get some much needed rest,” he added.
Wagoner was unavailable for comment Thursday.
According to Sizemore, the investigation surrounding the weekend shooting is under review by the department. Wagoner is prohibited from discussing the incident until the investigation is concluded. It could take several weeks.
“This is standard procedure when an officer fires their weapon,” he wrote.
Wagoner’s family is expected to release a statement in the coming days.
“Everyone is just so happy to see him home safe,” Sizemore wrote. “On behalf of the entire Cape Coral Police Department, we say thank you to the community for your continued support.”
Wagoner was conducting a routine traffic stop on a vehicle at about 1 a.m. Saturday when the passenger reportedly fired three shots at him. One bullet struck the officer in the abdomen, while the others hit his bullet-proof vest.
Wagoner was transported with life-threatening injuries to Lee Memorial, where he underwent emergency surgery for the gunshot wound, police said.
The passenger, Yousel Lopez Rivera, 20, of 320 N.W. Third Lane, was later arrested and charged with homicide murder while engaged in a certain felony offense. He was denied bond and remained at the Lee County Jail Thursday.
Rivera is reportedly a documented gang member of the “Krazy Getdown Boys,” or “KGB.” The group is a statutorily recognized criminal street gang.
According to police, Wagoner conducted the traffic stop at 12:41 a.m. on a Cadillac sedan in the 100 block of Santa Barbara Boulevard North. He made contact with the driver, a 17-year-old girl, and asked for her driver’s license.
Wagoner then asked Rivera if he had any identification, and Rivera told the officer that he did not. Wagoner asked the driver to get out her registration and proof of insurance as he walked around to the passenger’s side window.
As the officer got to the window, Rivera reportedly shot at him at point blank range. Wagoner returned fire, but Rivera and the driver were not shot.
According to police, Rivera then jumped into the driver’s seat on top of the teen and began driving away. The girl was seat belted in. Rivera eventually crashed the Cadillac into a home in the 1100 block of Santa Barbara North.
Rivera fled the scene on foot. Cape police, with the assistance of the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office, began a manhunt. Rivera was found hiding nearby in a garbage can next to a home, police said.
He was taken into custody and booked into the county jail.
Rivera has a court date scheduled for May 16.
During the crash, the teen driver, along with a person inside of the home, were hurt. Both were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The driver was not charged in connection to the incident.
Police reportedly recovered the firearm used to shoot Wagoner.
A father and husband, Wagoner has been with the Cape police since July 2007. A TIB Bank account has been opened for those who want to make a donation to his family. It is the “Cape Coral FOP Special Needs Account.”
On Tuesday and Thursday, the Belk department store on Surfside Boulevard will hold a Ladies’ Day Out sale. The store will grill hot dogs, sell raffle tickets for prizes and collect donations, with all of the proceeds to benefit Wagoner.