A 25-year-old former member of the Marine Corps was arrested Wednesday in the fatal shooting of another military veteran, who was killed in downtown Orlando early Sunday while walking to get empanadas, according to the Orlando Police Department.
Detectives say Shaun Engram Jr. attempted to stop 34-year-old Joseph Torres from walking through a crowded downtown sidewalk about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, prompting a heated exchange between the men, who did not know each other and had never met, said OPD Detective Teresa Sprague. The crowd around Engram “turned on” Torres, starting to beat him up, Sprague said, until Engram pulled out a handgun and shot Torres four times, killing him.
“We want to think there’s more to this than he just walked through the crowd,” Sprague said. “… This is honestly all Mr. Torres did. … He did nothing wrong.”
Torres, a father of three who had been deployed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, was shot within 100 feet from Orlando police officers working in the area, officials said. The officers found Torres on the ground, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lt. Frank Chisari, who leads OPD’s homicide unit, called Engram’s actions a “brazen act of violence.”
“These detectives worked nonstop since Sunday morning to catch this guy, to make sure downtown is safe for people to go,” Chisari said. He said detectives relied on local businesses that shared video from that morning to link Engram to the crime.
Sprague said Torres and his friend had been downtown Saturday evening, where they went to a few places for food and drinks, accompanied by Torres’ dog. Before heading home, the duo decided they wanted empanadas, so they dropped his dog off in Torres’ car, before walking to grab the snack. But they never made it, Sprague said.
Sprague said Torres’ family is requesting privacy while they grieve, but said they shared with detectives that Torres was a “jokester,” and they remembered him as “the life of their party every time.”
“They’re devastated by this, and so are his children,” Sprague said. She said the day Torres was killed was also his 4-year-old daughter’s birthday.
“He had purchased a gold dress for her,” she said, choking up. “… He didn’t get a chance to give it to her.”
Ingram surrendered without any issues Wednesday, Sprague said, and was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder with a firearm.
“There are no winners here,” Sprague said, noting that Engram and his family will also have to deal with this for the rest of their lives. “It was a split-second decision and it was a grave one.”
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