Wednesday marks 10 years since FMPD officer Andrew Widman’s killing

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The scene where Andrew Widman was shot and killed in 2008.

Wednesday marks 10 years since Fort Myers Police officer Andrew Widman was shot and killed.

The husband, and father of three was gunned down by a convicted felon Able Arrango,  while trying to break up a fight. Arrango had a history of violence.

In officer Widman’s honor, a law was created that keeps felons who violate probation off the streets until their parole officer can review the case.

A decade after Officer Widman’s death, Lt. Roger Valdivia can still remember everything that happened the night his colleague was killed, “As a supervisor your supposed to make sure all your people go home. And he didn’t go home that night.”

On July 18, 2008, Widman was shot. He had only worked at the police department for about a year before his death. His nickname was Rev, Valdivia said, because he was a former pastor.

“That’s when they told me that he was bleeding and he wasn’t breathing, and then I looked again, and I could just see the pool of blood coming from him,” Valdivia recalled, “The kid was like a ray of sunshine. He was never upset, always happy, always had a smile on his face.”

The shooting happened outside a club on Hendry Street, downtown Fort Myers. And today a candle is sitting outside, placed on the plaque made in memory of Officer Widman.

Valdivia said, “As an agency we took a hard hit, all the officers involved… You know took a hard hit.”

But widman’s death sparked change.

Three years after his death, lawmakers created a law in the fallen officer’s name.

The Widman Act allows judges to hold violent offenders without bond, for violating probation and FMPD says they’ve used it several times.

Valdivia says if the act had been law a decade ago Widman’s shooter would have been kept off the streets. “If that system would have been in place when able went to court, then they would have seen that he had a warrant, outside in a different county and he would have been remanded..”

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