(March 20, 2007) -- A Superior Court jurty in Norwalk today convicted a Hawaiian Gardens gang member of murdering L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Ortiz in June, 2005.
The District Attorney's office says in a release that the jury found Jose Luis Orozco, 29, guilty of 1st degree murder, attempted murder and posession of a firearm by a felon. It also found true special circumstances of murder of a police officer intentionally killed while performing his duties, murder to avoid arrest, street gang murder, lying in wait...and that Orozco personally used a handgun to commit the murder and the attempted murder, the D.A.'s release says.
Sheriff Deputy Ortiz, 35, with LASD's Gang Enforcement Unit, was killed June 24, 2005 outside an apartment in the 12000 block of East 223rd Street in Hawaiian Gardens while investigating a June 20 shooting in which Orozco was a suspect.
The D.A.'s release says Deputy Ortiz "spotted Orozco shortly after 3 p.m. the day of the shooting and chased him to the apartment. Orozco was hiding behind the apartmentís front door. He fired at the deputy and ran. Orozco was arrested five buildings away on 223rd Street shortly before midnight. A .38-caliber revolver was recovered."
Orozco was also convicted of the June 20, 2005 attempted murder of a man shot in the back while doing yard work at a home in the 22000 block of Joliet Avenue in Hawaiian Gardens, a shooting that the jury also determined to be a street crime.
Next week, the same jury will begin hearing evidence in the trial's penalty phase in which Deputy D.A. Lowell Anger of the Crimes Against Police Officers Section (CAPOS) will seek the death penalty.
Deputy Ortiz was a Lakewood Award of Valor winner in 2004 for having faced down an armed carjacker who drew a gun on him and his partner, ending with the death of the carjacker and the arrest of two suspected gang members.
(Photo source: LASD)
The murder of Deputy Ortiz prompted an outpouring of emotion from the community, where he was respected and admired coworkers and members of the community. This was the scene outside the Lakewood Sheriff's station 24 hours after his death.
Dep. Ortiz is the fifth Lakewood Sheriff Deputy slain while on duty...and his name is now inscribed on the Memorial Wall outside the LASD station on Clark Ave.