Orlando officer shot; police say gunman holding 4 children hostage

Orlando, FL (WESH) -- A man suspected of battering his girlfriend shot an Orlando police officer overnight and then barricaded himself inside an apartment with four young children.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said officers responded to the Westbrook Apartments on Eaglesmere Drive, near South Kirkman Road around 11:45 p.m.Mina said the woman left the apartment late Sunday and alerted officers to the assault.

They went to the apartment which is near Universal. Gunfire was exchanged and at least one bullet struck an officer, police said. At least one officer returned fire, police said.

Mina said it is unclear if the suspected gunman was hit by the officer's bullets.

The injured officer was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery. Mina said the officer has "very significant injuries" but is expected to survive.

Mina said the shooter is holding four children, ages 1, 7, 10 and 12, hostage inside an apartment. Mina said hostage negotiations are underway and the officers' main concern is with the children.

Officers evacuated other residents of the complex in the middle of the night. Some of them stood waiting in nearby restaurant parking lots, still wearing pajamas.

A witness described hearing gunshots, and then officers banging on their doors. The witness said they were told to grab what they could and evacuate.