GRIFFITH, Ind. — Police in northwest Indiana are still piecing together what led up to a shooting that left an 18-year-old dead.
Around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, Alayna Ortiz and her friends were at a Griffith apartment complex when an officer patrolling the complex heard a loud crash and then saw the Ortiz’s red SUV speed away. Ortiz’s stepfather tells WGN they were there to drop off one of Ortiz’s friends.
Police said the SUV then pulled into a strip mall parking lot a few blocks away off Ridge Road, where there happened to be a couple of squad cars.
Officers quickly realized Ortiz had been shot and got her to a Gary hospital, where she died.
Ortiz’s stepfather told WGN he believes she and her friends were just caught in the middle of gunfire.
Ortiz was a senior at Portage High School where she was described as smart and outgoing.
Parents at the school received the following email Thursday:
“Today, we are mourning the passing of one of our Portage High School students. A crisis team to include guidance counselors and school advisers will be available for our students who need to express their grief during this difficult loss.
We extend our deepest sympathies to this student`s family and friends, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts.”
Police sources said investigators have obtained witness statements from vehicle occupants as well as video from the scene. Police said they have identified two people they want to speak to in connection to the shooting.
Police said the public is not in an any danger.