Family of Man Killed in WPPD Shooting Demands Answers

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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22

The attorney representing the family of Daniel Patrick Knight, who was fatally shot by a Winter Park police officer last year, is demanding the release of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the incident.

During a press conference outside Winter Park City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 21, attorney Guy Rubin criticized the police departments’ handling of the 911 call that resulted in Knight’s shooting, and the delay in releasing the results of the investigation.

According to Winter Park Police Department reports, officers responded to a 911 call placed at 9:39 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2022, that referenced an assault taking place at Winter Park Events Center. Responding officers attempted to calm the situation and separate a guest from Knight, who had been attending the wedding of his niece.

The police department states that Knight attacked one of the officers, knocking him unconscious. A second officer tased Knight and later shot him during an altercation. Knight was transported to Advent Health Orlando hospital where he died from his injuries.

Knight’s family, who also attended the Tuesday press conference, disputes the police department’s account. While they admit that Knight had been drinking during the wedding, they claim that the officers’ actions provoked Knight while his family tried to intervene.

“When Danny’s sisters saw police rushing in like a SWAT team, they did everything they could to calm things down,” said Rubin during the press conference, adding that family members told police that Knight had PTSD and that he did not have any weapons.

Winter Park Police Department released the following statement in response to Tuesday’s press conference:

“This was a tragic event that resulted in a loss of life and we continue to empathize with all those involved and impacted. Because this is still an active investigation and there is impending litigation, we are unable to comment.”

Responding to an email inquiry from the32789 on the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 21, Lt. Lisa Suepat of the Winter Park Police Department stated, “The agency made the decision to allow both officers to come back to work based on the preliminary report we received from FDLE. Once the SAO (State Attorney’s Office) investigation is complete, we will then complete any IA’s (Internal Affairs) or administrative reviews for any possible policy violations.”

During the press conference, Rubin said that he intends to file lawsuits for the release of the investigation findings, and that a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed, “If they confirm what we suspect.”

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 22, Winter Park Police Department released statement that it had received the State Attorney’s Office final report on the shooting. The statement included the following:

“The report stated that the Office of the State Attorney has determined that there has been no violation of Florida Law in this case and therefore will not be filing any criminal charges against our officer. Our agency has begun the process of completing an internal investigation to determine if any department policies were violated in this case.”

No further information was provided, but according to comments made by City Manager Randy Knight during Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, a redacted version of the report will be made available to the city.

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