ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- The community is mourning the death of Rochester Police Officer Manuel Ortiz.
Ortiz was on his way to work at the RPD when his car crashed Saturday night. Around 7 pm Sunday night officers responded to a single-vehicle accident. Police say they arrived to find a car in a ravine with office Ortiz inside, he was the sole occupant.
Angel Colon said he knew Ortiz for a long time, saying Ortiz was well respected throughout the community.
“I know Manny for a long long time, good police officer, good human being. The Spanish community loved him. The way he talked to people, he was like a counselor for anybody who needed help, they can call Manny,” said Colon.
“He was very serious for his job, you know what I mean. He use to talk to the people a lot, go around and say be good, be good gentleman, you know what I mean, and it hurt me when I heard the news that he was killed,” said Colon.
Ortiz was 52 years old and leaves behind a wife and children.
“He loved his family number one. He loved his friends and he used to care for everybody. He was a good police officer and I hope he’s in heaven right now,” said Colon.
Monroe county sheriff Todd Baxter says two witnesses saw what happened and stopped to help.
“He was heading to work, lives in the town of Webster. He was driving to work in the city, as the car drifted off the people behind him noticed and witnessed the accident, stopped to assist,” said Baxter.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron D. Singletary said Ortiz was well known through the community, with over 20 years in the community affairs department.
Chief Singletary said many officers who responded knew officer Ortiz and resources were made available to help officers grieve.
“We are a family and tonight we lost a family a member and tonight, we’re going to make sure that the rest of the family is taken care of. right now, we’re all grieving,” said Chief Singletary.
The official cause of death has not been confirmed. Police on the scene said there is nothing to indicate that this was anything but a tragic accident.