UNIVERSITY PLACE - A Pierce County nurse had filed for a temporary protection order against her estranged boyfriend, just hours before he allegedly shot and killed her.
Detectives say 27-year-old Jessica Ortega was beginning her nursing shift at University Place Care Center Saturday morning, when 41-year-old Marcos Perea walked in and shot her several times.
“I think we're all in shock right now,” says Patricia McDonald, the administrator for the nursing home. “She was a very good nurse, and all staff, residents and families loved her.”
Q13 News has learned Perea had a lengthy criminal history, including several arrests for assault and weapons charges.
“They had an ongoing domestic problem, and she had been working to get away from him and was not living at home at the time,” says Detective Ed Troyer, with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
In the protection order filed with Pierce County on Friday, Ortega wrote about a recent incident with Perea. “He had a gun pointed at my head telling me it was my time to die.”
Perea fled after shooting Ortega. When Lakewood Police spotted his vehicle on Interstate 5 a short time later, he led them on a chase through Pierce and Thurston Counties. Police say he was shooting at officers as he tried to drive away.
“There was a disregard for our safety and for bystanders, people on the freeway,” says Lt. Chris Lawler with Lakewood Police.
Officers were finally able to stop Perea’s vehicle by using a pit maneuver, but Perea still didn’t surrender.
“When he gets out, he immediately runs to the back of the vehicle and engages the officers in a shootout,” says Lawler.
Twelve officers from different agencies were forced to shoot back, killing Perea. Traffic on I-5 was stopped for hours, as investigators gathered evidence.
Ortega’s brother shared this statement: “She was all about her kids. She had just got into nursing and was the sister that always kept a smile on her face and always talked about the good things.”