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Soldier charged in Swainsboro shootings

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POSTED: September 4, 2009 8:40 a.m.
Edison A. Ortiz, 24, a private with 1-64 Armor Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart, has been charged with two counts of malice murder.
Ortiz is the sole suspect in the shooting of his in-laws, Deryl Bruce, 41, and Linda Bruce, 44, both of Swainsboro. Ortiz allegedly shot them outside his Swainsboro home shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“He was a private soldier in Uncle Sam’s Army,” said Swainsboro Police Chief Johnny Shuman. “Now he’s a locked up citizen of Swainsboro. He had an ongoing domestic row with his in-laws which blossomed out into malice murder two counts.”
Shuman said malice murder can carry the death penalty.
Swainsboro Police said Ortiz had recently returned home from the National Training Center in California, in preparation for deployment to Iraq.
Fort Stewart media chief Kevin Larson said Ortiz has never been deployed.
Ortiz had “just moved into a new home with his new bride (Cerrise Ortiz),” prior to the shooting, Shuman said. He added that five or six neighbors witnessed the shooting.
“They (Bruces) were fairly well known (in Swainsboro) although they weren’t natives,” said SPD Det. Coleman Hall, lead investigator in the case. Hall said the shooting has hit the small town hard.
Law enforcement was dispatched to the 200 block of Bell Street on Aug. 29 in response to a call of shots fired, according to Hall.
“Officers responded within minutes. First on the scene was a Swainsboro Police officer and an Emanuel County Sheriff’s deputy,” he said. “Upon arrival, two victims were found in the roadway as well as the primary suspect in the case, Edison A. Ortiz. Ortiz was arrested without incident at that time. He is the only suspect as of today (Thursday).”
Ortiz is being held in the Emanuel County jail. As of press time Thursday Ortiz had not appeared for a bond hearing.

 

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