Archive for Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hearing set for man shot by Lawrence police in June confrontation

August 19, 2014


Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Kittel set a Sept. 26 preliminary hearing for a 24-year-old Lawrence man charged with aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Zachary James Ortiz was shot by a Lawrence Police officer in June after allegedly pointing a knife at his father and a shotgun at the officer.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson ruled the shooting justified in July. Police say they were called to Ortiz's neighborhood shortly after midnight June 22 to investigate reports of gunfire.

When Lawrence Police Officer Skyler Richardson arrived in the neighborhood, the person who made the report, not identified by police, told Richardson that he had heard what he believed to be two shots from a small-caliber rifle coming from the Ortiz home at in the 1100 block of Kasold Drive.

According to the district attorney’s office: Richardson went to the home and found the home’s owner, Edward Ortiz, standing behind a vehicle in the driveway. Edward Ortiz told Richardson that he had not heard gunshots but that his son was inside the house and was intoxicated.

Richardson then asked to speak with Edward Ortiz’s son, Zachary Ortiz, to make sure he was OK. Edward Ortiz took Richardson through his open garage and into the house, where Zachary Ortiz confronted his father and the officer while holding a “blunt object” over his shoulder. Zachary Ortiz then ran farther into the home, and the elder Ortiz and Richardson followed. Richardson found Zachary Ortiz in an upstairs bedroom holding a shotgun and attempting to load it. Richardson repeatedly ordered Zachary Ortiz to drop the weapon. When Zachary Ortiz failed to comply, Richardson shot him.


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