El Paso

Mother of slain EPPD officer: 'We still ask why? Somebody just didn't like his uniform'

Only on ABC-7: Parents of Officer...

EL PASO, Texas - The family of a fallen El Paso Police Officer is still dealing with the pain and sorrow of a devastating loss.

"I'm not going to lie and say I'm okay with what's going on," said Herlinda Ortiz, the mother of Officer David Ortiz. "It hurts that he's not here. We ask ourselves, 'Why? Why did this happen?' and we can't find any answers. It's just that somebody didn't like his uniform."

It has been ten months since Officer Ortiz was killed in the line of duty. The State of Texas has offered the man accused of killing the officer a plea deal.  In court Wednesday, John Paul Perry was offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter and receive up to 45 years in prison.

Perry, who turned down the plea deal, is scheduled to go on trial January 20, 2017 on a Capital Murder charge. The 45-year-old Perry, believed to be a Barrio Azteca gang member, is accused of deliberately driving into Officer Ortiz's motorcycle in East El Paso, killing him.

The deadly collision happened March 10, 2016 at the intersection of Lee Trevino and Vista del Sol. Officer Ortiz, riding his motorcycle, stopped at a red light when Perry allegedly rear-ended him. Ortiz died days after the crash.

Last year, prosecutors announced they were not seeking the death penalty against Perry, who maintains his innocence. His defense attorney told ABC-7 police overcharged his client.

Court documents obtained by ABC-7 soon after Perry's arrest state Perry allegedly boasted about the officer's death.

Police in Merkel, Texas arrested Perry more than a week after the crash after a witness told investigators Perry allegedly said, "The cop was lucky (I) did not have a truck or the officer would have been beef jerky and they would have been picking him off the streets."

Perry allegedly went on to tell that witness and a second person, "(Expletive) that cop. I don't give a (expletive) about that cop."

Officer Ortiz's father, Ramon, broke down when asked about his son. "I miss everything about him. When he died, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest," Ramon Ortiz said.

He recalled that minutes before the family was informed his son was struck from behind, he almost fainted at the store. His heart told him something wasn't right. "I just felt it, really quick," he said.

Everyday is a challenge for the Ortiz family, but Herlinda feels it is hers and her husband's responsibility to help the family heal. "A part of us was taken away. We were a very happy family and we still try to be. But there's an eye, a leg, and a piece of our heart buried in the cemetery," she said.

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