GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – “This tragedy is a stark reminder that we are failing at meeting the safety and security standards that citizens expect.” Those are the words from State Representative Angela Rigas (R-Caledonia) in a statement condemning the tragic murder of Ruby Garcia. Garcia was shot to death and left on the side of Highway U.S. 131 in downtown Grand Rapids on Friday night.

Shooting not a random act of violence.

While Rigas is referring to securing the country from illegal immigrants coming into the United States at our open borders, others are pointing to the murder as being an unfortunate outcome of domestic abuse. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said at a recent press conference, “This is another case of a domestic violence homicide, that we see quite frankly far too often over the last few years.”

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That press same conference and recent news reports have unearthed more information regarding the murder of 25-year-old Garcia and according to law enforcement, the murder was not a random act of violence.

Previously deported suspect is in custody with ICE detainer.

Yesterday’s reporting highlighted law enforcement investigating suspect Brandon Ortiz-Vite, 25, for the murder. Ortiz-Vite, in the country illegally, is now in custody and on an ICE detainer at the Kent County jail. Ortiz-Vite, a citizen of Mexico, had been deported from the U.S. in 2020 but returned illegally, according to federal officials.

The suspect was reportedly deported in 2020 under the Trump administration following a drunk driving arrest but returned sometime afterwards. He now faces charges including felony murder, open murder, carjacking, carrying a concealed weapon and felony use of a firearm.

Suspect denied bond and is in Kent County jail after domestic violence homicide.

After appearing in court to be arraigned on Tuesday, authorities say he was denied bond. It is also being reported by WOOD-TV that Ortiz-Vite admitted to fatally shooting Garcia with an illegally purchased handgun after an argument inside her vehicle.

Investigators determined that Ortiz-Vite and Garcia were involved in a romantic relationship.

What happened?

The tragic incident unfolded on the shoulder of southbound US-131 near Leonard Street, where Ortiz- Vite allegedly shot Garcia multiple times and removed her from the vehicle before fleeing in her 2023 Mazda, which he later abandoned.

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Further examination indicated that Garcia may have been run over in addition to being shot. Ortiz-Vite admitted to removing Garcia from the vehicle after she appeared deceased and driving her car away from the scene. The vehicle was later recovered in the South Haven area, showing signs of damage consistent with bullet holes and suspected bloodstains inside.

Suspect in murder surrenders to police.

Ortiz-Vite’s surrender to police on Sunday, facilitated by a call to Allegan County 911, led to his arrest at a church. Authorities seized a 9mm handgun from him, which he claimed to have purchased illegally. He was subsequently booked into the Kent County jail on outstanding warrants from 2020.

Ortiz-Vite had drawn suspicion early in the investigation into Garcia’s death as a text conversation between Garcia and Ortiz-Vite on her cellphone indicated that they had met at her residence approximately an hour before the homicide occurred.

Ortiz-Vite has many priors.

This was not Ortiz-Vite’s first encounter with law enforcement. In 2017, he was cited for driving without a valid license and later arrested for illegal entry without the owner’s permission. He faced further legal trouble in 2020, including a drunk driving arrest. Despite these many incidents, Ortiz-Vite managed to avoid consequences until now. He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 9.

Michigan lawmakers speak out about immigration issue.

Rep. Rigas, who represents the area where the murder took place, said in her statement, “No family should ever have to endure the pain and anguish caused by an individual who is here illegally.” She added, “We owe it to the memory of Ruby to pursue justice vigorously and to take concrete steps to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.”

State Rep. Gina Johnsen (R-Lake Odessa) also issued the following statement after Ortiz-Vite was charged in the fatal shooting of Garcia, “My heart goes out to the family of the young victim killed in this tragic, senseless shooting. This devastating event, perpetrated by an illegal immigrant, underscores the urgent need for strengthened U.S. border control measures that ensure the safety and security of communities throughout the country, including right here in West Michigan.”

Johnsen added, “We cannot continue to pretend that there are no consequences when we do not properly patrol our borders and screen those who enter them. This persistent lack of oversight and protection undermines the public safety that Americans have worked hard to secure. That sense of comfort will soon be a thing of the past, however, if the federal government does not take decisive action to secure our borders against bad actors. We must enforce commonsense immigration laws to prevent tragedies like this one from occurring again.”

Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued no statements regarding Garcia’s death and did not return a request for comment when contacted.