A Bakersfield man who pleaded no contest to fatally shooting a man he caught slashing his tires was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in jail.

Luis Ortega-Romero was also ordered to serve three years' probation, according to court records.  

Alerted by a neighbor around 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2017, the wife of Ortega-Romero told him someone was outside their residence slashing the tires to both their vehicles, according to police reports filed in court. 

Ortega-Romero, then 27, looked out a window and saw a man standing next to a white Chevy Suburban parked outside his home in the 800 block of Lincoln Street. He grabbed a 9mm handgun and walked outside.

He and the other man, later identified as Ernesto Venegas, 35, exchanged words. 

Venegas, armed with a knife, approached Ortega-Romero, who pulled his gun and fired, the reports said. Venegas turned and ran toward the Chevy Suburban as Ortega-Romero continued firing, emptying the gun.

Venegas collapsed and the driver of the Suburban fled, Ortega-Romero told detectives. He said he hid the gun in his house and lied to officers earlier in the day when he told them he heard gunshots and found Venegas down in the roadway. 

Detectives arrested Ortega-Romero on suspicion of murder, but prosecutors charged him with the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter. He accepted a plea bargain in January. 

(1) comment


Wait a minute. The guy was slashing his tires and then, holding the knife, approached the home owner and then, and ONLY THEN, the homeowner fired his gun? This is crazy. This seems like a clear case of self defense. Why was this man even charged with anything?

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