Man arrested in shooting death of Garden City restaurant owner
Police say they have arrested a 31-year-old man for the death of a Garden City restaurant owner in a possible robbery last week.
The Garden City Police Department said Tuesday in a news release that Marcus William Roady was arrested in the 300 block of Hillside Avenue. Police will be requesting a charge of first-degree murder in Thursday night's death of 69-year-old Ernie Ortiz.
The release says Roady is a transient of Garden City.
Officers responded just before 11 p.m. Thursday to the report of a person down at El Conquistador Restaurant at 1601 Bluff Jones Avenue. They found Ortiz lying on the east parking lot entrance. He'd suffered multiple gunshot wounds and later died at a local hospital.
Additional information was not released. The investigation is ongoing.
Kansas Department of Corrections records state Roady is on parole for drug and criminal damage convictions in Sedgwick and Finney counties.
Withing the walls of the El Conquistador Restaurant in Garden City, Ernie Ortiz's longtime dream came to life and was lived out for 40 years before it was suddenly taken last week.
Ernie's sisters were stunned when they got the phone call that their brother was shot as he was closing their restaurant Thursday night. The 69-year-old's death has not only affected his family, but also their community and their city.
"We want this person found. We want our justice," said Ernie's sister, Betty Ortiz Herme. "This is our brother. This is a senseless act...that should have never happened."
El Conquistador became a second home to the Ortiz family and to everyone else who walked through their doors. Ernie was the type of man to serve his customers and pull up a seat next to them.
"He wanted to help everybody and everything," Betty said. "He was very involved with the church, took care of the choir, involved with a lot of young kids, brought them here to work and he mad sure they got an education. A lot of them went to college, graduated, he went to their weddings. He knows their kids, he's got history here. Everybody that walks through this door, he's their family as well."
Ernie's family has committed to keeping the restaurant doors open, knowing it's exactly what Ernie would have wanted.
"I know he's smiling at us. He always turned a negative into a positive."
Left without any answers right now, the Ortiz family is holding on tight to the legacy of love that he leaves behind.
"His love isn't going to die. Not with us, not with our kids. It'll be known for a long time."