Teenage Shooter To Face Lesser Charges

Victim changes story during second interview with police

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Charges of attempted murder will not be filed against the now 19-year-old man who accidentally shot a fellow teenager in January of this year.

On Jan. 19, police say, Fred Ortiz accidentally shot the now 18-year-old Susan Crim with a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

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On Jan. 19, Susan Crim was shot with a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

Deputy County Attorney Patty Wortman said the Grand Jury on April 12 opted not to charge Ortiz with attempted murder or aggravated assault in the shooting.

Ortiz was indicted for unlawfully firing a handgun within the town limits and theft -- the handgun was stolen. Both offenses are Class 6 felonies.

The Payson Police Department forwarded the case and charges to the county attorney, Wortman said.

Wortman said Ortiz could be sentenced up to two years on each charge, but added that probation is an option.

"He theoretically could get four years in prison," she said.

Wortman said Ortiz was arraigned in May and will have a case-management conference next Monday, June 26.

Crim, according to the Craig Rehabilitation Center in Colorado, was released on Thursday.

Police reports indicate that Crim may have suffered partial paralysis as a result of the shooting.

The shooting occurred in a home on Palmer Drive in the Country Club Vista subdivision. Police reports say Ortiz had recently purchased the handgun and had been firing it at a local shooting range earlier in the day.

From interviews, investigators learned Crim, Ortiz and another person, Jared Dixon, 23, were in a bedroom in the home when the shooting occurred.

Initial reports from Crim, Dixon and Ortiz say the handgun was fumbled, and Ortiz attempted to grab it. The gun went off, sending a bullet through Crim's bicep and into her neck.

At the urging of Crim's parents -- Jeff and Mary Crim -- investigators interviewed their daughter a second time. Jeff Crim, according to the report, said if police were to interview his daughter again, she would tell them she was shot intentionally.

In the second interview on March 31, Susan Crim claimed she felt that Ortiz had intentionally shot her, adding that he had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the shooting. In the police report, she said, he was loading bullets into the gun, and when she asked why he was doing this, he replied, "In case someone runs up on me, I can do this."

She said as he was making this statement, he pointed the gun at her, looked her in the eyes and pulled the trigger.

Investigator Steven Johnson interviewed Crim twice on March 31 and said the two statements were consistent, but far different from her first interview in February when she said Ortiz would have never shot her intentionally and called the shooting "fate." In the police report, Susan Crim said she did not remember the first interview because she was highly medicated.

Fire department personnel responded and treated Crim at the scene before she was airlifted to a Scottsdale hospital. She was later transferred to a rehabilitation center in Colorado.

When investigator Steve Johnson visited Crim at a Scottsdale hospital, according to the police report, he was told Crim had been shot in the upper right arm near her shoulder, not the bicep, as officers at the scene reported. According to the police report, Mary Crim told Johnson that the bullet took a path across the top of the shoulder and struck the spinal column at or near the No. 1 vertebra. The spinal column was severed at this point, as was an artery extending to the brain.

Attempts to contact the Crim family for comment were unsuccessful by press time.

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