Florida Mall Temporarily Closed for Protests in Support of Victim of Police Shooting

The Florida Mall dining pavilion entrance in January 2018. Photo:The Florida Mall | Google Images

The Florida Mall is closing its doors until further notice following plans for a large protest in support of Salaythis Melvin, a man killed during a fatal shooting with a police officer. The 22-year-old man was shot and killed by an Orange County deputy. 

The mall closed as of 1 p.m. August 21. 

Body cam footage of the incident which occurred just outside of the Florida Mall on August 7th was released on the evening of Tuesday, August 18. The graphic footage showed the fatal shooting of Melvin as he took off from a group associated with a wanted man. Melvin was found to have a stolen gun on his person, according to the affidavit.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office initially said they were looking for a man who was wanted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and who was also a person of interest in a shooting. 

In the body cam video, a deputy can be seen driving through the parking lot of the mall. A man is seen through the windshield running away, then falling to the ground near Dick’s Sporting Goods. This is the moment when deputies shot and kill Salythis Melvin.

Deputy James Montiel said he fired his weapon because Melvin was grasping the gun and looked back at him while running.

Melvin was shot in the back and later died at a hospital. Melvin’s family is filing suit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the deputies involved. The attorney for Melvin’s family, Brad Laurent, said the body camera video captured one of the deputies on the scene using a racial slur while Melvin lay on the ground.

The Sheriff’s Office said it reviewed the footage and found out the deputy was asking about a face shield, to give CPR safely.

In total, there were six body camera videos released that Wednesday evening. The first video that was initially released did not clearly show an Orange County Sheriff deputy shooting an armed man in the back outside the Florida Mall, leaving key questions left unanswered for some time. The other five videos show deputies apprehending the other three other people detained, including deputies attempting to arrest one of the other men on a felony warrant. The videos were released late Tuesday just minutes after polls closed in the primary in which Orange County Sheriff John Mina won reelection.

The Florida Mall is located in an unincorporated area of Orange County, Florida, south of the city of Orlando. The mall is close to Orlando International Airport and many other Orlando attractions including Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World and  SeaWorld Orlando. It is one of the largest single-story malls in the United States and the largest mall in Central Florida, with 1,699,571 sq ft of gross leasable area and 294 retailers.