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Several teenagers allegedly carjacked multiple women at gunpoint and killed a man in a spray of bullets at a house party in back-to-back violent crimes overnight Wednesday on the West Side.
Police said they arrested two of the teens – finding multiple guns – after the boys led them on a chase in one of the carjacked vehicles that ended in a crash.
Izaiah Ruiz, 14, is charged with an open count of murder and armed robbery in the death of 22-year-old Eddy Ortiz, who was struck by a stray bullet while inside his home.
Another boy, 15-year-old Diego Padilla, is charged with armed robbery and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer in one of the carjackings and the chase.
Court records indicate at least two others were involved in the string of crimes but their names are redacted and it is unclear if they are in custody.
A GoFundMe set up to raise funds for funeral expenses for Ortiz’s family displayed a picture of him smiling broadly, with a mop of curly brown hair. The site described him as “kind, energetic and a loving friend to all.”
“He was the life of the party, always carrying positive energy making sure everyone was having a good time,” according to the website. “Eddy inspired countless good memories for so many people. We all will truly miss him.”
Officers responded around 3 a.m. Thursday to a shooting in the 600 block of Bataan SW, near Bridge, after a man reported his friend had been shot in the head, according to a statement of probable cause filed in Children’s Court. Police found bullet holes in a window of the home and Ortiz dead inside from a gunshot wound to the head.
Police said witnesses told them Ortiz was having a party when someone began shooting from outside. Multiple witnesses told police one gun sounded like an automatic rifle. Officers found a partygoer armed with a gun outside and he said he exchanged gunfire with the shooters.
Police said the suspects’ vehicles matched the description of two that had been carjacked – a Honda Pilot and Ford Fiesta – on the West Side hours earlier. Two women told police four teens had stolen their vehicles at gunpoint and one woman was with her 5-year-old at the time.
Then, around 7:30 a.m., a woman reported three teens in a Honda Pilot followed her into a gated community, pointed guns at her and demanded her keys, according to the complaint. An hour later police responded to an armed robbery at West Mesa High School where two teens in a Honda Pilot stole Apple Airpods and $15 in cash from a woman at gunpoint.
Police said around 9:30 a.m. an officer spotted the Honda Pilot driving “erratically” on Coors near Montaño. The SUV fled and the officer gave chase as the driver went into opposing lanes of traffic and crashed into a cinder block wall at Montaño and Picture Rock NW.
A passenger, identified as Ruiz, got out with an assault rifle and ran between houses before being detained, according to the complaint. The driver, identified as Padilla, tried to run and was detained near a backyard where police found a rifle and handgun.
Police said one of the casings at the scene where Ortiz was killed matched the rifle found in the backyard.
Padilla told police he, Ruiz and two others carjacked the Honda Pilot from a woman who had a child with her on Wednesday. He said they drove around for hours and, early Thursday morning, a man pointed a gun at them outside a house on Bataan.
Padilla told police the man started to walk away when Ruiz said “do we do it to them” before he and another person began shooting, according to the complaint. He said Ruiz and the other shooter “were giggling about the incident” after they drove off and he went to a friend’s house to sleep.
Police said Padilla told them he and Ruiz were driving around in the early morning when an officer tried to pull them over and Ruiz “told him to drive fast” before they crashed. He said he was not with his friends during the other robberies.
Ruiz told police he was only involved in the crash and when detectives told him they knew he was lying he said he would “stick to his story,” according to the complaint. When detectives pressured Ruiz he told them he “had the right to remain silent” and asked for an attorney.