Alleged Cop Killer Charged With Murder

Alleged Cop Killer Charged With Murder

From a Times Staff Writer

10:53 AM PDT, July 26, 2005

The gang member who allegedly shot Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Luis Gerardo “Jerry” Ortiz to death was charged with capital murder this morning.

The action in Los Angeles County Superior Court means that Jose Luis Orozco could face the death penalty.

“Deputy Ortiz was killed while investigating a shooting in which the defendant was a suspect,” Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said today.

“He was shot in the head and left dying on the ground while his killer ran away and tried to hide.

“Law enforcement officers like Deputy Ortiz are the last line of defense between criminals and the law-abiding citizens they protect,” Cooley said. “When one is killed, all of us lose. ”

Orozco has been held without bail for a parole violation since he was arrested after the killing last month.

Cooley said a decision will be made later on whether to ask jurors for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Last year, Cooley’s office considered seeking the death penalty in 79 cases, compared to 109 in 2000.

Ortiz, an anti-gang specialist, was shot in the head outside an apartment on East 223rd Street. Police have recovered a handgun. Ortiz, 35, had just married a few weeks before he was killed.

The complaint filed today alleges three special circumstances that would make Orozco eligible for the death penalty: murder of a peace officer during performance of his duties, lying in wait and murder to avoid arrest.

Orozco has been convicted of auto burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting arrest.

He also was charged with one count of attempted premeditated murder for shooting a man doing yardwork. The victim was hit in the back, but survived. It was that shooting that Ortiz was investigating when he died.

Orozco was scheduled for a hearing in a Bellflower courtroom today.

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