The Sierra Vista Police Department made an arrest in less the 24 hours after a fatal drive-by shooting on Monday took the life of Jorge Portillo, leaving his infant son without a father.
Rick Walter Martin was booked into the Cochise County jail Tuesday evening after being taken into custody without incident earlier in the day. He is slated for an initial court appearance Wednesday morning at which time a judge will decide whether Martin can be released on bail.
Any bail decision is likely to be complicated by the fact Martin, 20, is already awaiting trial following an arrest last month in Sierra Vista on charges of assault with intent to injure and disorderly conduct.
Martin was named by police as a person of interest shortly after Portillo, 19, was shot in the head about 4:30 p.m. while driving a pickup on eastbound Fry Boulevard. Portillo was transported to Canyon Vista Medical Center where he died of his injuries.
Authorities say a young woman inside the truck at the time of the shooting escaped serious injury despite the fact several rounds were fired at the truck, which went off the roadway and into a drainage ditch.
Witness statements led detectives to determine the fatal shot came from a red Honda hatchback which was traveling eastbound parallel with the truck. The Honda was found abandoned a short time later at an apartment complex in Sierra Vista.
Martin was the car’s registered owner, according to SVPD spokesman Cpl. Scott Borgstadt. No motive for the shooting had been announced as of press time, although Det. John Andela’s probable cause statement will be filed at Martin’s court appearance Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement efforts were further complicated Monday afternoon when the 911 system in Cochise County went down about the same time as the shooting. Similar outages occurred across southern Arizona.
Officers also had to deal with two false reports of active shooter incidents. It is unclear whether those calls were from over-anxious residents or something more nefarious.
Court records show Martin was previously booked into the county jail Aug. 22 on an assault charge. He was released pending trial in the Sierra Vista Justice Court, where hearings and trials have been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Earlier this month Martin completed defensive driving school to resolve a speeding ticket issued by SVPD in June. He also pleaded guilty last year in a criminal damage case for which he still owes money and pleaded guilty on a separate 2019 disorderly conduct citation.
About 90 minutes after Portillo was shot additional detectives were called out following a report of a deceased female found across town in an undeveloped desert area frequented by homeless people. There was no identification with the body, which has been sent to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy.
Borgstadt told Arizona Daily Independent the woman’s death and the drive-by shooting are unrelated. More information will be released about the woman once she is identified and the autopsy results are available.