Man shot by police in 2014 arrested after leading officers on overnight chase

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Zachary J. Ortiz

Updated at 5:05 p.m. Thursday

A Lawrence man who pointed a loaded shotgun at a police officer in 2014, prompting the officer to shoot him, is now out of prison but in trouble again.

Zachary J. Ortiz, 28, was arrested after allegedly leading Lawrence police on a chase early Thursday morning.

Ortiz was booked on suspicion of his third DUI, tampering with an ignition lock device, fleeing police and interference with law enforcement, according to jail records. New charges against him were filed Thursday in Douglas County District Court.

The overnight incident began just after 1:20 a.m., when an officer who observed a traffic violation tried to stop the vehicle in the 600 block of Massachusetts Street, Sgt. Amy Rhoads said in an email.

“The vehicle failed to stop for the officer and a pursuit ensued,” Rhoads said. “The pursuit traveled to the area of the 100 block of Maine Street where suspect’s vehicle struck a sign and trees.”

In July 2016, Ortiz was sentenced to 19 months in prison for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, in connection with the 2014 police shooting.

In the early-morning hours of June 23, 2014, Ortiz aimed a loaded shotgun at an officer who had initially responded to Ortiz’s home in the 1100 block of Kasold Drive to investigate a report of shots being fired there. After ordering Ortiz — who was drunk — to drop the gun multiple times, the officer shot Ortiz.

At his sentencing, Ortiz asked for probation, saying he would take full advantage of a chance to get treatment for his alcohol addiction. Judge Peggy Kittel gave him the maximum prison sentence instead, noting that, at the time of sentencing, Ortiz had already had two years since his case began to seek treatment.

Since being released from prison, Ortiz has been arrested at least one other time prior to Thursday morning’s chase, according to jail records.

In August 2018, he was arrested at his home on suspicion of aggravated domestic battery, or choking someone. Court records indicate Ortiz was charged the following month, and multiple felony charges were added after his preliminary hearing in November.

His bond in that case was $6,000, which he posted in late September.

On Thursday, the black Honda Civic Ortiz was driving fled from downtown Lawrence west on Seventh Street, north on Massachusetts Street, then west on Sixth Street, according to emergency radio traffic. Pursuing officers reported speeds reached 48 mph briefly.

From Sixth Street the chase went north on Indiana, west on Fourth, then north on Maine Street.

The suspect vehicle continued north on Maine Street, passing Second Street to the dead-end where the car hit a large rock and became high-centered.

Radio traffic from officers reported that they had the suspect at gunpoint inside his vehicle before pulling the man from his car and arresting him. The suspect reportedly sustained minor injuries and was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital before the jail.

— Operation 100 News contributed to this report. Operation 100 News provides overnight news coverage for the Lawrence Journal-World.


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