Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
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    Release Number: 16-063

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • February 18, 2016
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piooffice@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Homicide Arrest

    Detectives solve second homicide in days.
    • Sunday
    • February 14, 2016
    • Time: 12:00 AM
    • 6902 Hillsborough Avenue West
    • Tampa


    Rafael Salvi (deceased)
    DOB: 06/03/90
    2012 W. Walnut St.
    Tampa, FL


    Leonard Denis
    DOB: 12/15/89
    8001 Dell Dr.
    Tampa, FL


    Ismael Luis Ortiz
    DOB: 08/31/87
    5032 Belle Chase Cir.
    Tampa, FL


    • Second Degree Murder with a Firearm Discharge Causing Death
    • Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon Great Bodily Harm


    On February 14, 2016, the victim, Rafael Salvi, was shot one time in the back. The victim died as a result of his injuries. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Rafael Salvi, Leonard Denis and two other friends rode in a vehicle to meet an unknown Hispanic male in the Suburban Lodge parking lot, located at 6902 West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, for the purposes of purchasing marijuana and Xanax bars from him. The transaction was orchestrated by one of Salvi's friends who had purchased marijuana from the unknown Hispanic male in the past. According to a witness, upon arriving at the Suburban Lodge, Rafael Salvi and his three associates parked and awaited the unknown Hispanic male. The unknown Hispanic male arrived at the Suburban Lodge in a white colored SUV and parked alongside the vehicle. At that time, Leonard Denis exited the vehicle and walked up to the white SUV. He provided the unknown Hispanic male an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for some marijuana and Xanax bars. Denis then returned to the vehicle, at which time the white SUV pulled out of the parking lot. The white SUV returned shortly thereafter, partially blocking the vehicle in.

    Per a witness, at that moment the driver's side window of the white SUV opened and the unknown Hispanic male began firing shots at them from an unknown chrome firearm. The driver of the vehicle the victims were in put the vehicle in drive and fled the parking lot as the vehicle was being fired upon. Two of the shots entered the vehicle, one striking Leonard Denis, and one striking Rafael Salvi. Leonard Denis survived his injuries, while Rafael Salvi died as a result of his. The witness relayed the person who was shooting at the vehicle was the same person he had purchased marijuana from, and the same person he had been communicating with via cell phone.

    During a recorded interview, a witness provided the phone number of the unknown Hispanic male. He did not know his name and only knew his nickname, "Twink". He further relayed he had text messages in his phone which showed the planning of the drug transaction, and insults sent to each other after the shooting.

    During the course of the investigation, detectives found that the phone number was associated with Ismael Ortiz on a social media site. It was noted Ismael Ortiz closely resembled the description of the suspect. Continued investigation revealed a possible associate of Ismael Ortiz had a 2008 Nissan Armada. This matched the information concerning the vehicle that had been obtained from video surveillance at the incident scene.

    On February 17, 2016, a sequential line-up was completed and shown to a witness who positively identified Ismael Ortiz as the person who shot the victim.

    On February 17, 2016, detectives located Ismael Ortiz at a residence located at 5032 Belle Chase Circle in Tampa. Upon arrival, the 2008 Nissan Armada was located in the parking lot. Contact was made with Ismael Ortiz who agreed to be interviewed at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division. During the course of the post-Miranda recorded interview, Ismael Ortiz admitted to shooting the victim. He was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder with a Firearm Discharge Causing Death and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon Great Bodily Harm.

  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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