Wyo. man pointed gun at officers for ’thrill’

Jul 10 2012 - 9:30am


Richard Ortega (Casper Police photo)
Richard Ortega (Casper Police photo)

CASPER, Wyo. -- Officials say Richard Ortega's night consisted of drinking Crown Royal, walking his dog, aiming a gun at officers and getting arrested. Somewhere in between, he left a note requesting to be bailed out of jail.

Officers were responding to an unrelated call on Herrington Drive early Saturday morning when they say they first encountered Ortega. He walked a dog past them, ignored attempts at communication and entered a house across the street, according to arresting documents.

Shortly thereafter, police say Ortega exited the residence, carrying something by his side. The officers believed that the object was a rifle, as Ortega allegedly balanced the weapon across the corner of a truck and aimed in their direction.

After the police confronted Ortega, they said he retreated back to the house, towing the gun with him. Once inside, police say the suspect drew back the curtains and again pointed the weapon in their direction.

According to the affidavit, both officers believed Ortega would have fired had he not been confronted. Ortega would eventually surrender.

A search of the residence revealed a .270 rifle, a .22 rifle, a .22 semi-automatic pistol, a shotgun, a BB gun and ammunition.

In interviews, Ortega repeatedly stated that it was the BB gun he aimed at police. One of the officers questioned the veracity of this claim, and believed the BB gun was too small to have been the one he witnessed. Officials now say the .270 rifle was the only weapon found in the residence that matched every description of the one aimed.

In an interview, Ortega told police he never intended to shoot, and leveled the weapon for the "thrill." He said he assumed he would not be caught. When police pressed about the bail note found in a bedroom, Ortega said he wrote it "in case everything went wrong."

At his initial appearance on Monday, Ortega's attorney argued that Saturday was an "aberration" from his client's typical behavior, and that it was his first criminal allegation.

"Alcohol was in play," he told the judge.

Ortega was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer. Bond was set at $20,000. Ortega will receive a preliminary hearing in the upcoming weeks.



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