Orlando Police Officer Accidentally Shoots UCF Officer
ORLANDO, Fla., An Orlando, Fla., police officer mistakenly shot and killed an undercover university police officer working with state agents to stop illegal drinking at a University of Central Florida (UCF) tailgating party on Sept. 24.
The dead UCF officer was Mario Jenkins, 29, a four-year veteran of the department. Jenkins was shot by Dennis R. Smith, a reserve officer for the Orlando Police Department. Immediately after the shooting, Smith was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in all shootings by police.
Mike Young, a UCF student in his mid ’20s, was also wounded in the incident. It is unclear if Young was involved in the brawl or was attempting to help Jenkins after he was shot.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, police and spectators said Jenkins apparently confronted a group of students who were drinking. The students, some said, turned belligerent.
Witnesses said Jenkins pulled out his badge and his gun and fired the weapon, possibly into the air. Smith, who was patrolling on a bicycle, saw Jenkins fire his weapon and proceeded to shoot Jenkins several times, not knowing that Jenkins was an undercover police officer. At the time of the shooting, Jenkins was wearing street clothes.
Jenkins, along with six other UCF officers and seven agents with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco were working a joint operation to cut down on illegal alcohol consumption at the Citrus Bowl. Several Orlando police officers were also patrolling the event.
In response to the tragedy, UCF will study the program that sends in undercover officers to stop underage drinking. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also investigating the shooting and has not yet released details.