Officer Justified in Death of Victor Ortega: DA

The officer said he thought the suspect was going to grab his backup revolver that had fallen from his ankle holster

A San Diego police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of a Mira Mesa man involved in a domestic violence incident last year officials said Monday.

Victor Ortega, 31, was shot and killed after a foot pursuit with San Diego police officer Jonathan McCarthy that ended in an apartment breezeway south of Mira Mesa Boulevard..

Ortega's wife had called 911 on June 4, 2012 and reported her husband had punched and kicked her.

After a brief chase, Ortega and Officer McCarthy fought in the breezeway and then shots were fired. Ortega was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ortega's family filed a petition in February asking that criminal charges be brought against Officer McCarthy, citing autopsy results that revealed Ortega had been handcuffed before he was shot.

In a ruling released Monday, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said Officer McCarthy will not face criminal charges and deemed his response reasonable.

No one other than Ortega and Officer McCarthy witnessed the actual shooting investigators said.

Officer McCarthy said he had Ortega on the ground and was in the process of handcuffing him when he noticed his backup revolver approximately two feet from the suspect's head.

The officer said the suspect reached for the revolver but was unable to grab it.

"When Ortega reached for McCarthy’s service pistol with both hands, McCarthy fired twice. McCarthy estimated Ortega’s hands were about a foot away from the gun and believed Ortega was trying to grab the gun to kill McCarthy with it," the report states. 

Ortega suffered two bullet wounds - one in the abdomen and one in the back of the neck. Officials said he was facing the officer at the time of the shooting and was bent forward. 

The report also found that while Ortega's right wrist had been placed in a handcuff, the other handcuff "was in an open position."

Several witnesses told investigators the suspect told the officer he was going to sue.

Read the full report here

Contact Us