Gang threats prompt tight security for man accused of homicide

Pamela Lehman (The Morning Call)
November 25, 2009
Latin Kings2(4)
CHIGAGO – A man who admitted to Bethlehem police that he stabbed a man affiliated with the Latin Kings returned to the area to face homicide charges under tight security because police said he faced death threats.

Ubaldo Lopez-Ortiz, 24, of Bethlehem was arraigned last night for the Nov. 5 killing of Ezequiel De Jesus. Police said De Jesus is a suspected Latin Kings member and the gang has threatened Lopez-Ortiz and his family.

Lopez-Ortiz wore a bullet-proof vest and was arraigned via video at the Northampton County Prison, said Bethlehem police Detective Mark DiLuzio. Lopez-Ortiz is in Northampton County Prison with no bail.

Police said they took the death threats seriously and took extra precautions to keep Lopez-Ortiz safe. DiLuzio said prison officials have also been notified about the death threats.

According to court documents:

Lopez-Ortiz told police he fought with De Jesus in the backyard of a Bethlehem public housing development. He told police he thought De Jesus was reaching for a gun in his jacket, so Lopez-Ortiz pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim once in the chest.

Less than 24 hours after De Jesus’ killing, police and fire crews encountered near-riots at two arsons near the crime scene as Latin Kings gang members sought revenge.

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