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Fatal shooting victims thought suspects had fired blanks, police say

Updated March 15, 2024 - 7:33 pm

Two men were shot, one fatally, after they tried to chase off armed robbers in a Las Vegas neighborhood, believing the gunmen were firing blanks, police said.

The victims were approached while inside a garage in the 5200 block of Green Lane on the evening of Jan. 26. Police said 21-year-old Ervin Ortega-Rodriguez and 19-year-old Daniel Meza Ortega asked the men in the garage for a beer before robbing them at gunpoint of their car keys, phones and wallets.

The robbers fled on foot, and two of the victims grabbed a shovel and wood plank and started to chase Ortega-Rodriguez and Meza Ortega, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report.

A fight broke out nearby in the 5200 block of Garden Lane, where both men who had been robbed were shot.

Juan Negron Mex, 30, died, and the other man suffered critical injuries, according to the report.

The surviving man later told police that they chased the men because the suspects shot at them and didn’t hit them, leading them to believe they were firing blanks. He said Ortega-Rodriguez and Meza Ortega approached them in the garage and accused them of hitting their vehicle as they left a check-cashing business.

Police reviewed surveillance video which showed the victims leaving the business without striking a vehicle. The video captured the suspects’ vehicle follow the victims after they left the parking lot, according to the report.

Ortega-Rodriguez and Meza Ortega were identified by police through fingerprints taken from the scene and by tying them to the vehicle seen following the victims.

In February, police arrested Ortega-Rodriguez, Meza Ortega and a 16-year-old in connection with the killing.

According to police, Ortega-Rodriguez admitted during questioning that he planned the robbery after following the victims from the check-cashing business.

Jail records show Ortega-Rodriguez and Meza Ortega remain in custody and are due in court on April 16.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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