Special Agent Thomas Ortiz

(Federal Bureau of Investigation, Puerto Rico)

On April 26, 2012, while walking from his car to a bank, Special Agent Tomas Ortiz saw a masked man armed with a handgun. The masked man was assaulting another man outside the entrance to the Banco Popular located in Plaza Río Hondo Shopping Mall in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Special Agent Ortiz saw the suspect trying to grab a money bag from the victim and striking him over the head with the handgun. When the suspect secured the money bag, he released the victim and began to run to the getaway car.  Special Agent Ortiz drew his sidearm, identified himself as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and ordered the man to drop his weapon.

Upon the suspect’s failure to drop his weapon, Special Agent Ortiz fired his weapon, striking the suspect in the chest, and subsequently sought cover behind a parked vehicle. The suspect ran toward the getaway vehicle and fired one round at Special Agent Ortiz as he entered the vehicle, climbing over another man in the driver’s seat. Special Agent Ortiz fired repeatedly at the vehicle, striking both suspects.  The vehicle then raced toward Special Agent Ortiz, striking the Jeep that he was using for cover. A man who had jumped out of his own vehicle was subsequently struck by the suspects’ vehicle.

Special Agent Ortiz got the license plate number of the fleeing suspect vehicle and then moved to the victim and assessed his injuries. He contacted the San Juan Division radio room via cellular telephone and briefly explained the incident—providing the license plate number, vehicle description, and suspect information—and requested assistance.

As a result of his quick actions, both victims have recovered from their injuries and no additional persons were injured. In part because of the descriptions provided by Special Agent Ortiz, both suspects were arrested, one the following day and the other 1 month later.