Lisa Maria Garza
A 69-year-old Orange County woman shot and killed a man on Sunday afternoon who she said broke into her Azalea Park residence.
Deputies responded around 12:30 p.m. to the 6500 block of Bentwood Street and found the man, later identified as 38-year-old Ezequiel Rosario-Torres, with a gunshot wound, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Cpl. Sergio Uribe. He later died at a nearby hospital.
The resident who shot Rosario-Torres, Virginia Morrison, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel gave her account of what happened before she fired. The Sheriff’s Office has not released any reports or other records from its investigation.
Morrison said she saw Rosario-Torres open the screen door and walk inside the home she’s lived at for nearly 20 years with her 80-year-old partner. Morrison said Rosario-Torres didn’t respond when she yelled “who the hell are you and what do you want?”
She grabbed an old straw broom and smacked Rosario-Torres in the face three times, she said, and “he never flinched,” so she threw her cell phone at him.
Morrison said she grabbed a loaded .32 Colt from a gun case on the floor next to her antique cherry wood twin bed. She went out the back door to a side fence, pulled the hammer back on the revolver, she said, then pointed it at Rosario-Torres.
“I’ve been shooting guns since I was 10 years old – I grew up on a dairy farm in Tennessee. We had to know how to shoot rattlesnakes,” Morrison said. “I’ve never had to pull a gun on anybody [before].”
Rosario-Torres walked toward Morrison, she said, so she fired two warning shots above his head and yelled “back off, dude!”
When Rosario-Torres kept moving forward, Morrison said, she shot him in the upper chest and suspects the bullet hit an artery.
“The guy stumbled and fell right there,” Morrison said, as she pointed to her driveway about five feet away from the door. “His whole shirt was just saturated in blood.”
The State Attorney’s Office will determine if charges should be filed against Morrison, the Sheriff’s Office said.
A day after the shooting, Morrison sunk to her knees in front of the screen door and cried. She said she hadn’t eaten anything and can’t sleep. She tried to distract herself by doing laundry and sorting the recycling bin.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I think this would happen,” Morrison said. “I hope God can forgive me for taking that man’s life.”
Staff Writer Joe Mario Pederson contributed to this report.