FERNDALE - A felon from Ferndale who shot himself in the groin with a shotgun has pleaded guilty to having the gun, accepting a recommended sentence of one year and 10 months in prison.
Orlando "Casper" Ortiz, 37, claimed that he found the 12-gauge shotgun outside his trailer at 1580 Main Street the afternoon of June 29. He brought the gun inside, unloaded an empty shell inside and "continued to manipulate it," according to a witness account retold in charging papers.
Then the gun went off at a downward angle, wounding him in the lower abdomen and groin. The witness, identified by police as the gunshot victim's girlfriend, called for an ambulance.
Inside the home, police found a gun case and "several chunks of flesh and blood," wrote Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Graham.
Thirteen shotgun shells and the gun were found in the bedroom of the trailer. Two shells were spent; one shell was in the open breech of the gun, still live.
Ortiz was rushed to St. Joseph hospital. More than a week later he made his first appearance in court on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty last week; his sentencing before a judge is set for Aug. 28.
Ortiz had a handful of felonies on his record. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2003 for selling heroin to support his own habit; his third drug-related felony.
In December 2010, Ortiz knocked on the door of a Pole Road home, announcing that he was a Border Patrol agent and demanding to see a resident's wallet. Then he put the man in a headlock, pocketed the wallet containing about $600, and fled.
He wasn't caught, but a month later he kicked in the door of the same home and punched a roommate of the earlier victim, according to court records. He took his wallet, too. That time a neighbor was able to write down the license plate of the getaway car.
Ortiz pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree robbery in that case and was sentenced to a year and five months in prison.
Update on Saturday, Aug. 11: Corrected the year of the robbery at the Pole Road home.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at email@example.com or call 715-2276.