For Kenneth Ortega, captured earlier this month in Florida in connection with a Bethlehem shooting, the number “23” is significant.
Ortega turned 23 on Saturday – Feb. 23. That was also the day he returned to the Lehigh Valley and was charged with shooting at two men – hitting one of them – on Jan. 31 in Marvine-Pembroke.
The man who was shot was taken to the hospital by his mother, who witnessed the shooting, court records say.
Ortega was taken into custody Feb. 7 in Polk County, Fla., east of Tampa. The court records say he is a “known member” of the Maniac Latin Disciple street gang.
The records also say Ortega, known as “K.O.” and “Kenny,” was on probation for a 2010 robbery conviction.
After being arraigned on charges that include criminal attempt at homicide, he was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $750,000 bail.
The records say Ortega’s last known address is 1347 E. Fifth St. in the city. But elsewhere in his court file is another address – 105 New World Court in Bethlehem Township.
The records say Ortega was shooting at Tyrone Concepcion-Cosado, who was hit in the left thigh, and Angel Pizzaro-Ramos, who was not hit. (The records also spell one of the latter’s names as “Pizarro.”)
A criminal complaint filed by city Det. Bradford E. Jones also says:
- Around 3pm Jan. 31, police got a report of multiple shots fired in the area of Fritz Drive and Essex Court. Pizzaro-Ramos told police he had been shot at “about four times” by a male known as “K.O.” who was using a semiautomatic handgun. He said his friend – Concepcion-Cosado – was hit in the leg.
- Jones found five spent shell casings at Fritz and Essex, while another officer found two more shell casings nearby – all from a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun.
- While police were at the shooting scene, Bethlehem 911 got a call from St. Luke’s University Hospital that a man, later identified as Concepcion-Cosado, was in the trauma bay with a gunshot wound.
- Jones learned that the shooting victim was driven to the hospital by his mother, Olga Cosado, who had witnessed the shooting. She identified the shooter as “Kenny” and said he was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.
- Her son said “K.O.” shot him and that the man was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and knit hat.
- A search of Bethlehem police records led to identifying the alleged shooter as Kenneth “Kenny” Ortega. The records also said he was a “known member” of the Maniac Latin Disciple street gang.
- Concepcion-Cosado and his mother separately identified Ortega in two photo lineups. Meanwhile, a resident of the 1000 block of Essex Court found a white hooded sweatshirt and brown knit cap to the rear of the residence.
In addition to two counts of criminal attempt at homicide, Ortega was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and one count each of person not to possess firearms and possessing instruments of crime.
He was arraigned at 12:15 Saturday afternoon by on-duty District Judge Richard Yetter of Wilson.