Suspect dead after Orlando police officers shot at traffic stop
Fox News correspondent Jeff Paul has the latest after a SWAT team kills the suspect leaving two Orlando police officers critically wounded on ‘Fox Report.’
A Florida man who died in a shootout with police over the weekend was out on bond after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl on her way to school last year, according to Orange County court records.
A SWAT team fatally shot Daton Viel, 28, on Friday after he shot and critically injured two Orlando police officers during a traffic stop around 11 p.m. Investigators believe Viel’s vehicle may have been tied to a homicide in Miami.
Less than a year ago, on Dec. 1, 2022, Viel offered a ride to the 14-year-old girl walking to a local high school. She accepted, and when she got into his vehicle, he drove her to a park and allegedly raped her inside his vehicle before driving back to the school.
Once he dropped her off at the school, the victim told friends and school staff, who contacted law enforcement, Orange County records show.
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Daton Viel, 28, was identified as the deceased suspect who shot and critically injured two Orlando, Florida, police officers during a traffic stop Friday night. (Orlando Police Department)
Surveillance footage captured a red, four-door sedan entering the school’s front office parking lot once at 10:14 a.m. and again at 10:46 a.m., when the victim can be seen exiting the vehicle.
Medical staff examined the victim and obtained a sexual assault kit. Detectives then conducted an analysis of male DNA found on the victim and linked it to Viel, who was charged with sexual battery of a person between the ages of 12 and 18, lewd or lascivious molestation and lewd or lascivious exhibition.
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He was released on $125,000 bond in that case, as FOX 35 Orlando first reported.
“The only individual who can be blamed for incidents like these is the individual who took those actions,” Monique Worrell, U.S. State’s Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, said during a Monday press conference. Worrell defended her office, repeating that bond is at the discretion of the court, not the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Daton Viel was released on $125,000 bond in a 2022 sexual battery case involving a 14-year-old girl, as FOX 35 Orlando first reported. (Orange County)
“Whether or not someone gets released on bond is in the discretion of the court, and bond is a right. It is not something that the state gets to decide or not decide,” Worrell said when asked whether the prosecutor’s office could have argued for no bond. “We can certainly make arguments. Ultimately, it’s the decision of the court, and in this case, the court decided that a $125,000 bond was appropriate.”
At the time of his arrest in the rape case, Viel was on probation for burglary, trespassing on a construction site and criminal mischief charges stemming from a December 2019 incident. He had also violated probation for alleged crimes out of Georgia earlier this year.
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Additionally, there was a warrant out for Viel’s arrest in Orange County in July after he was caught driving a red Ford Fusion with a stolen license plate on June 30 near the University of Central Florida campus.
“The offender reported he’d come to the campus to see a girlfriend and he knew he shouldn’t be driving because his license was suspended, and he did not have any insurance on the car,” an amended complaint stated. “While Officer Smith was removing the stolen license plate from the vehicle, UCF Dispatch relayed the offender had an active warrant from Orange County for Trespassing.”
When officers told Viel to put his hands behind his back, he fled the scene. Police yelled commands at the suspect to stop, but he ignored them and got away.
“There were three warrants, and we just could not get to him,” Worrell said Monday. “…Until Saturday morning, he was never taken into custody.”
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On Friday, after Viel shot at two Orlando officers, he initially fled the scene and then carjacked another vehicle in an effort to get away, and a vehicle pursuit ensued, according to a statement released from the Orlando Police Department.
Viel barricaded himself inside a room at a Holiday Inn and refused to surrender despite multiple attempts by police to persuade him to give up. At 8:58 a.m., the suspect opened fire on SWAT officers “multiple times,” according to Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith. Police returned fire and hit the suspect, killing him.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.