Sheriff: RPD officer died from accidental self-inflicted gunshot while driving

Sheriff: RPD officer died from accidental self-inflicted gunshot while driving

Updated: November 04, 2019 12:13 PM
Created: November 04, 2019 10:48 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester community is mourning the loss of an officer after he tragically died Saturday night.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter confirmed Monday that Officer Manuel "Manny" Ortiz, 52, was on his way to work when he accidentally shot himself in the left thigh with his personal weapon — a Smith and Wesson 9mm. The round passed through his femoral artery. 


Baxter said Ortiz called his fiancé at 6:56 p.m. to tell her that he had accidentally shot himself, and he was heading toward the hospital. Ortiz then drove off Empire Boulevard in Penfield and crashed into a ravine. 

"Officer Ortiz's fiancé called 911," Baxter said. "Citizens witnessed Officer Ortiz vehicle drifting across oncoming lanes of traffic going off the road and coming to rest about 100 yards in a ravine. They also called 911."

Four deputies responded to the scene, applied tourniquets, and carried him to the road. 

"Deputies removed Officer Ortiz from the vehicle, applied two tourniquets to his legs, carried Officer Ortiz out of the ravine to the roadway where deputies were met by EMS," Baxter said. 

Ortiz, a 22-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, was pronounced dead at 7:13 p.m. 

Baxter says one casing was found in the passenger side of Ortiz's SUV. The bullet was found lodged in the driver's door. The weapon did have a safety on it, according to investigators.

Chief Deputy Michael Fowler says three of the four deputies that carried Ortiz to the road were in the police academy together, and Ortiz was their trainer.

"We lost a great one but gained an angel," Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary said.

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