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Four-hour standoff ends with negotiated surrender
Specialists from the Texas Department of Public Safety assisted La Salle County sheriff’s deputies and Texas Rangers in the capture of a local fugitive last week after the registered sex offender had evaded the law for several days.
Investigators have confirmed that Jesus Orlando Ortiz Jr., 42, was remanded into custody at the La Salle County Jail on Monday evening, December 13, after a four-hour standoff with officers in which he allegedly threatened to take his own life.
The man had been tracked to a home in downtown Cotulla after fleeing from a building where an officer had attempted to conduct a routine compliance check on his sex offender registry. He was listed as wanted for evading arrest and violating the conditions of his probation.
La Salle Sgt. Elvira Gonzales reported on Tuesday, Dec. 7, that Ortiz was one of two men who jumped out of the windows of a house on South Main Street when she knocked on the door. The second fugitive, 32-year-old Juan Castillo, was found the following day and had been hiding in the top of a closet in an abandoned building a few blocks from the place where he had last been seen.
The sheriff’s office conducted block-by-block searches for Ortiz during the following week. Capt. Juan Mirelez reported Monday that he spotted the fugitive at a residence on East Lane Street, where the homeowner complained that Ortiz was trying to force his way into the house in an attempt to evade law enforcement.
“Ortiz fled from the home and ran to another residence,” the captain said. “We dispatched several deputies to the area, and Ortiz ran from one house to another, hiding underneath at least two of the structures.”
The captain noted that deputies reported seeing Ortiz emerge from one of his hiding places holding a screwdriver and a knife.
“At one point, Ortiz ran right past a four-year-old boy who was playing in the back yard of a home,” the captain said.
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that Deputy Edward Gonzalez sustained injuries when the fugitive lunged at him with the sharp instruments and struck him. The officer was hospitalized with lacerations.
“Ortiz ended up going underneath a house on Dobie Road,” the captain said. “By then, we had him surrounded.”
Sheriff Anthony Zertuche was joined by Deputy Constable Manuel Sauceda in trying to coax Ortiz out from his hiding place for as much as four hours.
“When the negotiators from the DPS had talked with him, Ortiz was persuaded to come out,” the captain said. “Once the upper half of his body emerged from under the house, our deputies took hold of him, restrained him and brought him into custody.”
Ortiz was jailed on his arrest warrants and on a charge of having assaulted an officer.