Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces this afternoon that Lawrence resident Zachary J. Ortiz, 26, was sentenced to 19 months in prison for the June 2014 aggravated assault of a Lawrence Police Department Officer. The Court also ordered him to pay a $1,696.20 Johnson County Crime Lab fee, a $400.00 Kansas Bureau of Investigation Lab fee and that he complete 24 months of post-release supervision. Upon his release from prison, he must register as a violent offender for 15 years. A jury found Ortiz guilty of the charge on July 22, 2016.
On Sunday, June 22, 2014 shortly after 12:30 a.m. officers with the Lawrence Police Department were dispatched to the area of Kasold Drive and Harvard Road in reference to the sound of gunshots fired. The 911 caller said the shots were muffled and sounded like they came from the house on the corner or the house south of that one.
The first officer that arrived contacted the 911 caller, then contacted Ortiz’s father, who was standing in the driveway of his residence. The father told the officer that Ortiz was drunk and was inside the home. Because of the report of gunshots fired, the officer told the father that he would like to check on Ortiz’s welfare. The father led the officer into the garage where they were met at the door into the house by Ortiz. Ortiz was wielding an unknown object over his shoulder in a striking position. The officer identified himself as a police officer and ordered Ortiz to drop the object. Ortiz then turned and ran into the house. Ortiz’s father ran into the house after him, and the officer followed to ensure the safety of the father. Ortiz ran to an upstairs bedroom, where he picked-up a shotgun. Ortiz then pointed the shotgun at the officer when the officer reached the bottom of the stairs. The officer again identified himself as a police officer and repeatedly ordered Ortiz to put the shotgun down. Ortiz refused to comply and loaded a shell into the shotgun. At that point the officer, believing Ortiz was about to use the shotgun against him, shot Ortiz. Ortiz fully recovered from his wounds.
Today’s sentencing was held in the courtroom of the Honorable Peggy C. Kittel. Officers with the Lawrence Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. It was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney David Melton and Assistant District Attorney Alice Walker.