Homeless Man Charged in Death of Good Samaritan Who Came to Toddler’s Aid

Gabriel Ortega Jr. is shown in a photo provided by LAPD. He died July 14, 2014, nearly a month after being hit in the head at a Hollywood McDonald's.

Gabriel Ortega Jr. is shown in a photo provided by LAPD. He died July 14, 2014, nearly a month after being hit in the head at a Hollywood McDonald's.

A 36-year-old homeless man was charged Monday after allegedly punching another man who came to the aid of a toddler, leading to the good Samaritan’s death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jeremy Harris was charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Gabriel Ortega, 57, who rose to defend a 3-year-old boy whom Harris berated inside a Hollywood McDonald’s on June 18.

Harris was yelling and swearing at the boy, who was not related to him, according to the DA’s office.

When Ortega got between the two, Harris allegedly punched him several times in the face and the head.

Ortega went home but sought medical treatment several days later after experiencing headaches and vomiting, Los Angeles police had said.

He died on July 14; his cause of death was determined by the coroner’s office to be blunt force trauma from injuries sustained in the incident.

Police had called for the public’s help finding the attacker, who had fled the McDonald’s on Vine Street where the altercation occurred.

Harris pleaded not guilty Monday, and his bail was set at $100,000, according to a DA’s office spokesman. His next court date was set at Aug. 14.

If convicted, Harris faces 11 years in state prison.

Harris was arrested by LAPD on July 31, county inmate records show.


Related Stories