White Texas Man Shoots And Kills Black Teen On The Fourth Of July In A Dispute Over Fireworks
Devonte Ortiz was shot in the early hours on Independence Day. He was only 19.
July 09, 2018 at 1:20 pm
A man in Austin, Texas, was charged with first-degree murder for killing a teenager over fireworks.
Devonte Ortiz, 19, was shot and later pronounced dead following a dispute with 41-year-old Jason Roche. According to The Washington Post, the conflict occurred in the wee hours on Independence Day.
Roche was upset that Ortiz continued setting off fireworks in his apartment complex around 1 a.m. The man claimed he shot the teen as a precaution and a form of self-defense, but cell phone footage disputes those claims.
An affidavit obtained by The Washington Post states Roche twice confronted Ortiz and other teens about the fireworks. During the second confrontation, Roche said Ortiz allegedly reached for a gun, which prompted him to reach for his firearm.
However, videos from the scene of the incident paint another picture. In the footage, Roche can be seen showing off his gun and following Ortiz around a car in the apartment complex's parking lot.
Also, outside was Roche's father, who attempted to intervene, by beginning a shoving match with the teen. Roche's father then fell, which prompted the fatal gunshot from the son. Ortiz was unarmed, according to The Washington Post and the affidavit.
The suspect was arrested Friday, July 6, and booked in the Travis County Jail on a $250,000 bond. Following the shooting, family and community members held a vigil for the honor roll student-athlete. His longtime girlfriend of two years, Amber Garcia, told KXAN News that Ortiz was a passionate person who didn't deserve to die.
“Two years wasn’t enough,” Garcia said while sobbing. “It wasn’t enough.”
His grandmother, Paula Watrous, also remembered him as a person willing to help his family no matter what.
“A great young man. A great athlete,” she said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. "He had ambitions. He was very career-minded. In his career, he wanted to be a coach and a teacher. Those are the two things he wanted. ... But he came home every weekend to be with his family. To be with his girl. To be with her family."
A local activist group, the Austin Justice Coalition, set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the family. Donors have exceeded the $5,000 goal.