December 21, 2014

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Woman shot dead in Lorain; suspect dies shortly after arrest

Catalina Ortiz

Catalina Ortiz

LORAIN — Karla Garcia was sleeping on her couch by the first-floor window of her family’s home at 1018 W. 17th St., around 5:45 a.m. Sunday when she said William Taylor Jr. crashed through the window and landed on top of her.

Garcia said Taylor was bleeding from the right shoulder, possibly from the window glass. She said he was terrified and hysterical screaming, “Don’t shoot me!”

Taylor’s bizarre behavior came minutes after police said they found a dead woman in his home around the corner from Garcia’s home at 1618½ Washington St.

Responding to a shots fired call, police spokesman Lt. Roger Watkins said officers found Catalina Ortiz. The 21-year-old Ortiz, of the 1600 block of East 29th Street in Lorain, was shot in the head and leg, according to Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans.

Preliminary findings indicate Ortiz was shot in the leg with a pistol and in the head with a shotgun. Evans said a pistol and shotgun were found in the home.

William Taylor

William Taylor

Taylor, 32, died at Mercy Regional Medical Center shortly after being arrested, according to Watkins. Evans said the cause of Taylor’s death hasn’t been determined and an autopsy is pending.

Garcia said after Taylor crashed into her home, he grabbed the 10-year-old sister of Garcia’s boyfriend, Angel Roland. The girl was wrestled away by her mother.

Roland grabbed Taylor and tried to calm him and then allowed Taylor to call 911. During the call, Garcia said Taylor told a 911 operator, “They tried to shoot me.”

Taylor then ran into Garcia’s grandmother’s room where Jose Negron, Garcia’s father-in-law, said he held Taylor down on the floor until police arrived. The grandmother said Taylor was shocked by officers with a Taser, which emits a 50,000-volt shock, before being handcuffed.

Garcia and her family said Taylor appeared unconscious when he was taken out of their home on a stretcher by paramedics. Evans said there were no obvious signs of trauma on the outside of Taylor’s body, and he doubts that the Taser shock was related to Taylor’s death.

Watkins said Ortiz and Taylor knew each other, but wouldn’t say what their relationship was or what the motive was. He said he didn’t think it was domestic violence.

Both Ortiz and Taylor previously had been charged with violence. Ortiz was charged with assault in July. Taylor was indicted for felonious assault in February and had convictions for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. Taylor’s nonviolent convictions including possession of cocaine and illegally conveying drugs in a jail or prison.

Despite Taylor’s record, his cousin, Levi Springer, said Taylor wasn’t a violent man. Springer said Taylor loved his two young sons and the rest of his family.

“Everybody knew and respected him,” Springer said. “He was a hell of a guy.”

Ortiz also was fondly remembered. Crystal Pirkle, who lived in Ortiz’s apartment house, described Ortiz as her best friend. Pirkle said she’d known Ortiz since Pirkle was 13.

The two went to school together at the former Southview High School. Pirkle said Ortiz dropped out in 2010 but recently spoke about getting her GED.

Pirkle said she last spoke with Ortiz around 1 p.m. Saturday. Ortiz was depressed about a recent miscarriage, and Pirkle said she was surprised Ortiz went out Saturday night because she usually called to see if Pirkle wanted to come. Pirkle, who said she’d never heard of Taylor, said Ortiz was a good listener and a class clown who went out of her way to make others laugh.

“You couldn’t ask for a better friend,” a tearful Pirkle said. “You’d be having the worst day, and she would do anything in her power to put a smile on your face.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

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