Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Sheriff's Office: No shots fired in fight at Disney complex

RECOMMENDED READING


A 70-year-old man's scuffle Friday night with workers at a Disney Springs restaurant over the wait time for his food led to a chaotic scene that caused patrons to be trampled, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.

Luis Antonio Ojeda-Reyes of Putnam County was waiting for his food at Bongos Cuban Café around 9:30 p.m. and asked to speak with a manager about the long wait time, an arrest affidavit said.

Two managers apologized for the wait and explained the restaurant was extremely busy because it was Christmas Day.

Deputies say Ojeda-Reyes started cursing and pushed one of the managers, which started a brawl inside the eatery. He got in the face of the restaurant's general manager and threw a punch but missed. Another employee jumped in to try to stop the confrontation.

Workers escorted Ojeda-Reyes out of the restaurant after he grabbed the manager's bicep, which left a mark. He was arrested a short time later in front of a Starbucks.

At some point during the chaos, patrons mistakenly thought they heard gunshots. The loud sounds caused patrons to start rushing to the exit nearly causing a riot, deputies said.

Ojeda-Reyes was seated on the second-floor patio, said Mark Weissberg, director of operations at Bongo's Orlando.

Employees tackled him to the ground when he got disorderly, and he knocked over a few tables in the process, Weissberg said.

"So the people on the first floor below heard noises that sounded like 'bang, bang,' and as a result some of them ran out and created the chaos," Weissberg said.

About 15 tables ran out without paying and did not return, he said.

Restaurant workers said no shooting had taken place, and deputies didn't find any evidence of shots being fired.

Ojeda-Reyes wasn't found with a gun or any weapon, the Sheriff's Office said. He is charged with battery.

Carolynne Larsen had just taken her first bites of Christmas dinner at Paradiso 37, just down the street from Bongos, when a hoard of about 100 people rushed into the restaurant screaming about a gunman.

The 43-year-old Wisconsin native didn't think twice when she grabbed her fiance and 15-year-old son and ran to the back entrance of the restaurant.

She said moments later about four or five loud pops rang out and transformed the hectic situation into even more of a chaotic mess that led to parents, kids and other guests being trampled.

"It was terrifying. When we heard those pops and everyone started yelling 'get down, get down, active shooter,' " Larsen said. "We really thought we were going to die."

She said tables and chairs were flipped as scared patrons ran through the restaurant, which left her and her son with injuries including scrapes, bruises and gashes on arms and legs. After hearing the loud pops, which she described as sounding like rapid gunfire, Larsen said everyone inside the eatery dropped to the floor.

"You could hear people crying and screaming," she said.

Larsen said people started crawling on the floor over people and children trying to make it out the door. Amid the chaos, Larsen said she got separated from her son, Randy.

"He was pretty distraught because he ended up by himself," she said. "He could hear me screaming his name across the restaurant."

Social media erupted with patrons sharing photos, videos and accounts of what happened. Several people said they were trampled on and needed medical attention.

Eric Ferrari, deputy chief at Walt Disney World Reedy Creek Fire, said they transported two people with injuries Friday that may have been related to the incident.

"I know we responded to help a child with a foot laceration from a piece of glass but there's no real way for me to know if that injury was related to this," he said.

Ferrari said they train for situations like this in case there is an active shooter.

"We definitely have plans in place for these types of situations and train with law enforcement to do drills and run scenarios," he said. "With the recent events in San Bernardino, we are always preparing."

Larsen, who was visiting Disney Springs for the first time, criticized how the situation was handled, especially when it came to crowd control. Larsen said she was never notified by any law enforcement officials that there was no evidence of a shooting.

Orange County sheriff's Capt. Steve Garrison said deputies tried to deescalate the situation once they found the reports of a shooting were unfounded.

"The national concept of Run-Hide-Fight is appropriate in an active assailant situation. However, panic is a problematic issue with crowds and it is difficult to intervene with the very human response of flight when there is danger," he said. "Once we determined that the shooting was unfounded, we began immediately notifying everyone."

Comments
Bucs’ belief Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL players. S...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injur...
Updated: 2 hours ago

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17