Posted: Nov 6, 2009 11:46 AM by Associated Press
Updated: Nov 6, 2009 11:46 AM
One person was killed and at least eight were critically wounded in a shooting inside a downtown Orlando high-rise building Friday morning, authorities said. The building was described as not yet secure, and the suspect was still on the loose.
Quoting emergency dispatchers, NBC station WESH-TV of Orlando reported that the shooting began about 11 a.m. ET on the fourth floor of the Gateway Center at 1000 Legion Place near Lake Ivanhoe.
All of the victims were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Orlando fire Cmdr. Vicky Robles said seven people were in critical condition with gunshot wounds. An eighth person, who was not shot, was in stable condition because of a "cardiac event."
Police Sgt. Barbara Jones identified the suspect as Jason Rodriguez, 40, a former employee in the building who she said was believed to be at large and armed. Rodriguez was believed to be wearing a light-blue polo shirt and blue jeans and driving a silver 2002 Nissan sport-utility vehicle with Florida plates D119UX, authorities said.
A witness told WESH that the shooter had not worked there in more than a year. She was whisked away by police before she could say more.
"T hings are still unfolding," Jones told reporters. "We're still trying to secure various structures around the area to make sure the shooter is not still in the area."
Michael Droege, district chief for the Orlando Fire Department, told WESH that an unknown number of people were still in the building and could be injured. He said the SWAT team was still trying to pull people out of the building.
Some occupants were reported to have barricaded themselves in an office for protection.
SWAT officers were going floor by floor to secure the building, officials said.
Gateway Center is a 16-story office building that was built in 1999.
Interstate 4 eastbound was shut down while police converged on the area, and nearby Edgewater High School was locked down.