BOZEMAN – A Manhattan man faces charges after allegedly using a taser on another man in a gas station parking lot on Tuesday.
Garret Rodrigo Ortega, 22, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday, where his bail was set at $100,000.
According to court documents:
A Manhattan police officer responded just past noon on Tuesday to a report of a man using a taser on another man.
The officer reported that when he arrived on scene, Ortega was standing outside his vehicle near the gas station’s pumps. The officer said as he approached, Ortega got in his car and sped off.
The victim reportedly told the officer that Ortega pulled into the gas station, cutting off another vehicle, and slammed on his brakes.
He then began yelling obscenities, according to the victim, who said he approached Ortega to ask him “what the deal was.”
Ortega allegedly got out of his vehicle and struck the man on the neck with a flashlight-sized item that shocked him.
The officer said Ortega arrived back at the gas station in his vehicle before driving off a second time.
About three minutes later, according to the officer, Ortega drove around the rear of the gas station. The officer said he pulled his vehicle behind Ortega’s to prevent him from driving away again.
The officer reportedly spoke to Ortega, who remained in his vehicle, and Ortega told him the victim had been threatening and yelling racial slurs at him, and that he got out of his vehicle to defend himself.
Ortega denied using a taser and said he only verbally confronted the man, according to the officer.
The officer said Ortega refused his command to turn off his vehicle as two Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputies and two Montana Highway Patrol troopers arrived on scene.
While the other officers continued speaking with Ortega, the reporting officer reviewed the store’s surveillance video, which reportedly corroborated the victim’s account.The officer said he also contacted other witnesses by phone who backed up the victim.
The officer proceeded back to Ortega’s vehicle and informed him he was under arrest. Ortega allegedly resisted, was pulled from his vehicle and restrained by all the officers at the scene.
The officer said he searched Ortega for weapons and found the taser in Ortega’s coat pocket.
In court on Wednesday, prosecutors said Ortega has another case pending where he allegedly assaulted his mother with the same type of weapon.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 24.
– Additional reporting by Cody Boyer, MTN News