The Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on a cloudy day, where Deputy Remin Pineda will be tried.

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled Thursday that a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy will be tried for two felonies stemming from a 2021 deputy shooting that killed a 34-year-old father of three.

The preliminary hearing concluded Thursday after the judge rejected an open plea to no contest and proposed sentence.

The charges stem from a deputy shooting on on March 14, 2021, after David Ordaz Jr.’s sister called the East LA Sheriff’s station to request assistance for her brother who was threatening suicide and holding a knife. Deputies shot Ordaz 12 times, killing him.

Deputy Remin Pineda is charged with assault with a firearm and assault under color of authority, both felonies. In a ruling issued on Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar wrote: “The court finds [Pineda’s] actions … were not the actions of a reasonable officer…The charged crimes were committed.”

Pineda will be arraigned later this month. 

Last month, Pineda offered a no-contest plea for just two years of probation, community service, and a relinquishment of his POST certification, or police officer’s license. 

Judge Villar was assigned the case in April. She said at last month’s hearing that while she did not know much about the case, “I know this is a very controversial matter…I believe in transparency.” 

After a closed conference in chambers with deputy district attorney Ryan Dibble and defense attorney Steven Alvarado, the court offered Pineda the choice of either pleading no contest to be sentenced at a later date or moving forward with the preliminary hearing. He chose the preliminary hearing. 

Judge Villar pointed out that the DA’s office could amend the complaint at a later point to include additional charges. Assistant District Attorney Diana Teran, who attended the April hearings, said that the office was considering manslaughter charges. “It’s always a possibility,” she said when asked outside of the courtroom in April. 

Since that hearing, Teran herself has been charged with 11 felony charges by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The Attorney General alleges Teran improperly downloaded the records of 11 unnamed deputies in 2018 while working at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Teran’s attorney, James Spertus, told the Los Angeles Times the charges were “dead on arrival,” and that he believed the material was obtained through court files or public records of findings of dishonesty by deputies. 

Deputy District Attorney Dibble told LA Public Press outside the courtroom on Thursday that while Teran had supervised the charges against Pineda, he did not expect the charges against her to have any impact on the Pineda case. 

This isn’t the first time a plea in this case has been rejected by a Los Angeles court. In October of 2023, county prosecutors presented a plea deal they had kept secret – even denying its existence when Spectrum News1 inquired – to Judge Michael Pastor. The agreement would have sentenced Pineda to just two years of probation for the shooting, and his revocation of the right to be a cop in California. 

About two dozen of Ordaz’s family members have attended court through all the proceedings. His sister, Hilda Pedroza, testified that her brother contacted her by phone the previous day saying he wanted to hurt himself. He arrived at the family home the next day and the two siblings talked in his parked car for about an hour, Pedroza said. She drove her brother to a nearby hospital but Ordaz refused to exit the vehicle. She called the East LA sheriff’s station for assistance when they arrived back at the family home.  

When deputies arrived at the family home, they ordered Ordaz out of a parked car he was sitting in. He exited and stood about 15 feet away from them and began to pace back and forth along the sidewalk between the car and his family on the other side of a chain link fence, as captured on their body-worn video

A few minutes later, two deputies in the group fired beanbag rounds at Ordaz, with Deputies Pineda, Navarrete, Trujillo, and Romero following seconds later with gunshots. Pineda kept firing after the other deputies stopped shooting, even as Ordaz Jr. “continued to lie on the ground on the right side of his body,” according to a 13-page memo from the district attorney on the incident. Another deputy told him to stop, but Pineda fired a final round as Ordaz lay on the ground, the knife discarded. 

At least four of the 12 gunshot wounds Ordaz received were fatal, according to an autopsy performed by the LA County Department of Medical Examiner. Two of them were fired by Pineda. 

Deputy Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Dr. Pedro Ortiz testified in April that at least 4 of Ordaz’s gunshot wounds could have killed him. In cross-examination, Alvarado repeatedly attempted to assert that methamphetamine found in Ordaz’s system could have accelerated his death, asking twice if the drug would make any impact. 

Pedroza sighed deeply and nodded as the judge read the ruling. “We will continue fighting,” Pedroza said outside of the courtroom. “The charges he is facing is the bare minimum of what he deserves.” 

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