Garden City police officers are investigating the shooting death of a person found outside the restaurant El Conquistador Thursday night and are currently ruling the incident a homicide.

As of 2:30 a.m. Friday morning, officers have not taken anyone into custody, said GCPD Capt. Michael Reagle.

Officers responded to a person down outside the restaurant, located at the corner of Buffalo Jones Avenue and Bancroft Street, at about 11 p.m. Thursday night. Reagle said the incident has been ruled a shooting. The victim was transported to St. Catherine Hospital and later died, he said.

Reagle declined to disclose the identity of the victim so officers could notify his or her family.

A string of dozens of evidence markers trailed from the front door of the restaurant to the parking lot’s driveway onto Bancroft, where what appeared to be a piece of clothing laid alongside an oxygen mask and first-aid kit.

While some officers huddled over the piece of clothing and around evidence markers, others appeared to be taking photos in the parking lot and to the west of the building. Others walked along the right side and to the back of the building, shining flashlights around a side door, pick-up truck parked near Bancroft Street and dumpsters behind the restaurant.

As of about 2:30 a.m. Friday, police had expanded the crime scene, blocking off the restaurant, its parking lot, a portion of a field to the west of the building and small stretches of Buffalo Jones and Bancroft near the restaurant. Officers said the area has been deemed safe.

The Telegram will provide updates as we learn them.

 

Updated, 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 13

The victim of the shooting has been identified as Ernest Ortiz, 69, of Garden City, the owner of El Conquistador, according to a media release from the GCPD. The preliminary investigation has led officers to believe the incident was a possible robbery.

At 10:55 p.m. Thursday, GCPD and Finney County EMS officers responded to the area of Buffalo Jones Avenue and Bancroft Street for a reported person down, according to the release. Upon arrival, they located a man with gunshot wounds lying on the east parking lot entrance to El Conquistador by Bancroft Street. EMS transported the man, identified as Ortiz, to St. Catherine Hospital, where he later died, according to the GCPD.

Ortiz was a well-known fixture of the community, supporting and getting involved in many local events.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Ortiz during this grieving time,” the GCPD stated in the release.

GCPD Capt. Randy Ralston said officers have not yet made any arrests. The investigation is still active.

The GCPD is requesting assistance from the community. If you witnessed this incident or have information related to it, call the police department at 620-276-1300. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 620-275-7807 or text GCTIP and your tip to Tip411 (847411).

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.