Sister shoots, kills brother while taking pictures holding gun


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 12:51 PM

Map: 37th Ave. & McDowell

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PHOENIX -- A young woman accidentally shot and killed her older brother while the two were taking photos of themselves fooling around with a gun early Monday morning.

It happened shortly before 6 a.m. at an apartment complex in the neighborhood of 37th Avenue and McDowell Road.

Police say the gun discharged while the 19-year-old woman was holding it. Her 22-year-old brother, identified by police as Manuel Ortiz (pictured above), was hit. He died at the scene.

It's not clear who owns the gun in question.

According to Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department, Ortiz and his sister had just come from a party at another location.

"In this particular case, there may be a situation where alcohol may have played a factor … perhaps some impairment," said Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department.

"Thus far it looks like an accident," he continued. "Obviously these young kids were playing with this gun, wanting to take some photos with this gun, as they're holding this gun and it accidentally discharged."

Three other people were in the apartment at the time of the shooting. One person witnessed the incident. The other two were in another room.

It's not yet clear what charges might be filed.

"The 19-year-old suspect was questioned and has been released pending further investigation and test results," Martos said in an email to media outlets several hours after the shooting.