SAN ANGELO, TX — Police said they have their suspect and he will be charged with murder. Earlier Tuesday, police found a man dead in the back yard of a residence on Bailey St. in north San Angelo. He died of one of more gunshot wounds, San Angelo police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracy Piatt-Fox said. “It is now a homicide investigation.”
In a terse statement to the news media at the scene, Piatt-Fox said all she will reveal is that the victim is a 28-year-old male and she said the suspect who allegedly shot the victim is in custody. Just after 9 p.m., police released the names of the suspect and the victim.
When police were dispatched to the crime scene, they were informed via radio that at least four shots were fired and one person was hit “for sure.”
Above: Police push back citizens claiming to be family members of a shooting victim at 2000 block of Walnut on March 19, 2019. (LIVE! Photo/John Basquez)
Several friends and/or family members of the victim attempted to enter the crime scene, however, Piatt-Fox stressed, the police had two layers of barriers around the perimeter of the crime scene. Piatt-Fox did not say if the victim lived at the residence.
In a courtroom trial in March 2016, photos of a shooting crime scene at Desiree’s Night Club revealed press personnel inside the crime scene perimeter. Those photos were, in part, used by defense attorney Evan Pierce-Jones during the trial to obtain an acquittal of a suspect from whom police had a recorded confession. Pierce-Jones argued the crime scene was contaminated. You can read about the Desiree's shooting here.
Attempting to avoid a similar courtroom situation in light of our reporting that family had rushed past the crime scene tape, Piatt-Fox said, “I want to make it abundantly clear that no one entered the inner barriers where the crime scene is located.”
“We have all hands on deck,” Piatt-Fox added. She listed CSI, CID, and multiple patrol units to guard the perimeter.
Piatt-Fox confirmed the body was found in the back yard of the residence near the 2000 block of Bailey St. Police were originally dispatched to the 2000 block of Walnut St. at 4:26 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
Update 9:16 p.m.: Police said they located the suspect in the 2000 block of Bailey Street. The suspect, who police identified as Gabriel James Ortiz Sr., was taken into custody and detained without incident.
The shooting victim, 28-year-old San Angelo resident Ernesto Hernandez, was found dead in the backyard of a nearby residence. Justice of the Peace J.P. McGuire responded to the scene and formally pronounced Hernandez deceased.
Ortiz will be charged with murder, police said.
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