A prison parolee who was a known gang member was shot dead Thursday in Santa Maria, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The shooting of Jose Luis Ortega, 22, culminated an incident that began about 8:15 a.m. near Bunny Avenue and Lincoln Street, in the northwest section of the city, according to sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars.
Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Santa Maria Police Department, who were working a joint investigation, began following a vehicle in which Ortega was a passenger, Sugars said.
As the vehicle approached North Broadway, it suddenly stopped and Ortega jumped out and began running westbound, Sugars said.
“Within moments, there were multiple gunshots fired. At least one bullet hit the parolee, killing him at the scene,” Sugars said, adding that no one else was injured.
Ortega was armed with a handgun, Sugars said.
Multiple gunshots were fired, and at least one struck Ortega, Sugars said, adding that the names of the officers and deputies involved are not being released.
Two other occupants in the vehicle — Jose Rangel Rincon, 34, and Crystal Georgia Marquez, 34, both of Santa Maria — were arrested on misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance, Sugars said.
Sheriff Bill Brown said the Sheriff’s Department is handling both the criminal investigation and the review of the officer-involved shooting.