Shootout suspect's home contained bombs

July 14, 2009 8:48:10 PM PDT
Investigators say the man accused of shooting Chambers County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Detwiler on Monday had a large stash of explosives in his home. Bomb squad members spent Tuesday at the home. [PHOTOS: Images from Monday's SWAT scene]

Investigators are trying to figure out why the explosives were there, what they might have been collected for and how to safely remove them. The FBI, ATF and bomb squads from around the greater Houston area are trying to gather as evidence now more than 100 explosive devices found in the home of Gilbert Ortez, Jr. Chambers County Sheriff Joe LaRive says homemade pipe bombs, altered grenades and even booby trap devices were found inside.

Deputy Shane Detwiler was killed there by two gunshot wounds to the head as he responded to a call. He was hit by even more gunfire.

"One of the bullets struck his chest area and it was deflected," said Sheriff LaRive. "Mr. Ortez died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. An assault rifle was found next to his body."

Ortez, a former police officer, had a criminal history including two convictions for unlawfully carrying a weapon. His sister called for an independent investigation, claiming deputies went inside illegally.

Dora Frie said, "To our knowledge the officers did not have permission to make an entrance into the home."

Sheriff LaRive says the situation did not require consent or a warrant.

Detwiler was a father of three -- the oldest four years and the youngest just eight months old. His wife of 13 years is a school teacher.

The sheriff says Detwiler was actually wearing two bulletproof vests Monday. The sheriff says Detwiler did this when he felt he was going into unusually dangerous circumstances.

Ortez's girlfriend, the woman who allegedly started all this by shooting at the water meter reader, faces aggravated assault and resisting arrest charges, but those charges now could be upgraded.

Helping out

"The 100 Club of Houston" will help Deputy Shane Detwiler's family cover his funeral expenses. If you'd like to make a donation, visit the 100 Club of Houston website to help the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Remembering Deputy Detwiler

A visitation for Deputy Detwiler will be held at the Eagle Heights Fellowship on Thursday between 3pm and 8pm. It's located on 14,120 Highway 146

The funeral will be Friday at 10am at Miranotha Church at 12,319 Highway 146 in Mont Belvieu. That church was chosen specifically because it has the capacity to hold about 3,000 people. A big crowd is expected to come paying final respects.

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