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Gunman kills Orlando officer

Published Sep. 26, 2005

A police officer was fatally shot in the head, and a second officer was seriously injured Thursday when a man pulled over on a traffic stop opened fire as they tried to arrest him on outstanding robbery charges.

Officer George S. DeSalvia, 29, was pronounced dead and Officer Edward A. Diaz, 28, was in serious condition with wounds to his back and shoulder.

It was the first shooting death of an Orlando police officer since 1976.

"Early this morning in Orlando, a piece of all of us died," Mayor Glenda Hood said.

Police charged Emmanuel St. Nattis, 22, of Miami with first-degree murder of a police officer, assault and battery of a police officer and attempted carjacking. He was found in an abandoned house near the shooting scene southwest of downtown Orlando after a six-hour search by more than 150 law enforcement officers. The weapon was still being sought.

Also taken into custody were two passengers in St. Nattis' car, Deborah Lakes and Salomon Desrivieres, 20.

St. Nattis and Desrivieres were initially arrested on outstanding robbery charges. A warrant says both took part in a Jan. 31 robbery of CashAmerica, an Orlando pawn shop.

Authorities say Diaz stopped the car driven by St. Nattis about 1:30 a.m. for a traffic infraction. After running a check, Diaz first learned Desrivieres was wanted on the warrant and placed him in his patrol car, Orlando police Chief Jerry Demings said.

DeSalvia soon arrived as backup. St. Nattis shot the officers as they tried to handcuff him, authorities say.

"Only he knows why he did it," said Lt. Daniel Kowalski, commander of the department's violent crimes unit.

St. Nattis and Lakes fled the scene, authorities say. Lakes was arrested after she tried to get a cab at a nearby hotel.

DeSalvia had been on the force since last May, Diaz for more than two years.

"Both of them were fine officers," Demings said. "The officers reacted as best as they could under the circumstances."