Thursday, 22 September 2016

Tourist Murdered

A Turkish tourist on his honeymoon was killed early Thursday during an armed robbery in front of his wife in the heart of Orlando's tourist district.

Osman Darcan, 52, died from multiple gunshots fired by a robber who was trying to steal his wife's purse by their car in the parking lot of the hotel resort where they were staying, authorities said.

At the time he was shot, Darcan stepped in to help his 44-year-old wife in a struggle with the robber, who fled without the purse into a waiting car.

It was the first killing of a tourist in Orlando's tourism district in recent memory, Orange County Sheriff's Office Capt. Angelo Nieves said at a news conference.

The couple was on their honeymoon and had driven up from Miami on Wednesday afternoon.

It is not known where they were returning from early Thursday when they arrived back at their hotel, the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive at about 1.45am.

As they got out of their car, an armed man approached them and attempted to steal the wife's bag.

Darcan intervened and a struggle ensued during which the suspect opened fire several times, striking Darcan, authorities said.

The suspect then fled without the bag in a reddish-orange car with a black stripe that headed east, possibly toward Kirkman Road, according to authorities.

Deputies arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting where they said they found Darcan on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and his wife was not injured in the incident.

Authorities said the suspect is described as a heavy-set male with dark skin and bushy eyebrows.

Nieves said he did not know where in Turkey the couple was from, but the wife was in contact with the Turkish consulate.

The wife 'was in a very fragile, traumatic state,' he said.

Wyndham released a statement concerning the shooting, saying they are shocked and saddened by the incident.

'Our thoughts are with the victim and his family during this devastating time, the resort said.

'The safety and security of our associates and guests is our top priority and please know that we are cooperating with the authorities on their investigation.

'Given that this is an active investigation, we’re unable to provide any details or comment further and ask that you direct all questions to the local authorities.'

The district around International Drive, or 'I-Drive' as locals call it, is among the safest areas in Orlando.

Officers responded to Darcan's shooting within two minutes of getting a 911 call, and patrols will be increased in the district for the near future, Nieves said.

'Patrols have always been stepped up on the I-Drive corridor,' he said.

'It's one of the safest areas, one of the tourism areas, and we constantly patrol.'

Orlando has been the top tourist destination in the United States for the past two years, with 66 million visitors last year, and the killing was only the latest troubling headline coming out of tourism-dependent metro area.

This past summer, a former contestant from The Voice television show was fatally shot after a concert, 49 patrons of a gay nightclub were massacred in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and a toddler was killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World.

Some tourists also have grown nervous about coming to Florida because of reports of the Zika virus in South Florida.

When asked what he would say to tourists concerned about coming to Orlando, Nieves said, 'This is a very safe area.'