Two gang members—who were arrested, jailed and released in last summer's fatal shooting of an unarmed man who tried to stop graffiti from being sprayed in an unincorporated Anaheim neighborhood—were re-arrested this week and are scheduled to be arraigned on murder charges today.
David Steven Ortega, 33, of Chino, is charged with felony special circumstances murder and felony attempted murder, with sentencing enhancement allegations for criminal street gang activity, personal discharge of a firearm and vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member.
Ortega could get life in state prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Co-defendant Edgar Ramirez faces the same charges and all the enhancements except personal discharge of a firearm, says the OCDA, noting that the Anaheim 21-year-old faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Prosecutors gave this account:
On the night of July 19, 2015, Ortega and Ramirez allegedly tagged gang graffiti on Lullaby Lane, where a 37-year-old man, identified only as "John Doe," and 51-year-old David Bruce Douglas interrupted the pair. John Doe briefly followed the pair on foot, and Douglas drove his SUV to the end of the street to pick up his friend.
"Shortly thereafter, Ortega is accused of shooting Douglas and John Doe with an additional accomplice after John Doe got in the vehicle," states the OCDA. "The defendants are accused of leaving the scene."
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Douglas and John Doe were taken to a hospital, where the older man died from multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the neck area. John Doe survived multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the back of his head.
Orange County sheriff's deputies arrested Ortega the night of the shooting and held him without bail, but he was released a few days later after prosecutors declined to file charges at that time. Later that same month, Ramirez was arrested for suspected murder, but by the end of the month he was also kicked loose.
The sheriff's investigation has been ongoing, and deputies re-arrested Ortega Monday in Los Angeles., according to the OC DA.
Ramirez, who is currently in custody serving a sentence for a Feb. 25 misdemeanor conviction for carrying a dirk or dagger, was also re-arrested, prosecutors add.