Sheriff’s officer shoots man ‘fixated’ with female wrestler at WWE training center
A man “fixated” with a female wrestler — to the extent that a court order had been obtained against him, though he hadn’t been served it yet — was shot Monday by a sheriff’s officer outside the WWE Performance Center, a Florida sheriff said.
The 29-year-old man, who had confronted Orange County sheriff’s deputies in the past, underwent surgery after suffering what Sheriff Jerry Demings described as life-threatening injuries.
Demings did not name him or the female wrestler, who he said was not at the WWE’s Orlando training center at the time of the shooting.
According to the Orange County sheriff, two plainclothes officers responded around 1:30 p.m. to a call from a manager at the Performance Center that the man had come in and created “a commotion.” At the time, WWE staff told authorities the man “had some type of knife.”
So when the two officers arrived, they drew their weapons, fearful the man might go after them, police said.
And while it wasn’t clear if he was armed, the man did charge at one of the officers in the facility’s parking lot.
“And so the deputy retreats,” Demings said. The officer “was running backward trying to create distance between he and the subject, and ultimately the subject closes within just a few feet of him. And he fired the shot.”
Cpl. Steve Wahl was the officer who fired that shot, according to Deming.
The man he shot has an extensive history of run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests for robbery and battery against a law enforcement officer and an August 4 arrest for trespassing. The sheriff said this past includes having previously confronted deputies with “some type of chain.”
Paul Levesque, a longtime WWE wrestler known as “Triple H,” now executive president with the company, tweeted that “a deranged individual with no WWE affiliation, who had a court order prohibiting him from being on WWE property, was involved in (the incident).” The man had not yet been served with the order, according to authorities.
Demings confirmed the man had undergone a mental health evaluation under what’s known as the Baker Act, which allows for voluntary admissions and involuntary examinations.
The WWE bills its Performance Center in Orlando as “a state-of-the-art training center where tomorrow’s Superstars and Divas are perfecting their craft in the ring and on the mic on the way to WWE’s main roster.”
The 26,000-square foot central Florida center features seven training rings, strength and conditioning spaces, plus edit and production facilities. It is known not just to the up-and-coming wrestlers and prime-time superstars who use it, but also those who have seen it in various vehicles, including the USA Network reality show “WWE Tough Enough.”
By Greg Botelho and Tessa Carletta