Igor Ortiz | Credit: SBPD

A member of Santa Barbara’s Westside gang was sentenced last Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison for the fatal knifing of an Eastside rival in 2019.

Igor Rai Ortiz, 22, pleaded guilty to the murder of 29-year-old Alberto Suarez Torres, admitting he used a weapon in the attack and committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang. 

Prosecutors said Ortiz and three others had gathered the evening of May 31, 2019, with plans to spray-paint Westside graffiti in Eastside territory. They also talked about finding and attacking an Eastside gang member.

As they drove through the area, tagging fences and homes along the way, they spotted Torres walking in the 1300 block of Cacique Street. Torres, an alleged affiliate of the Eastside gang who went by the nickname “Lil’ Rascal,” was heading home from work at a downtown restaurant. 

Ortiz and 35-year-old Angel Barajas ― who is also facing homicide charges but has yet to be tried ― got out of the car, ran Torres down, and repeatedly stabbed him, authorities said. He sustained at least nine knife wounds and lost consciousness at the scene. He later died at Cottage Hospital.

Charged with accessory to murder were Alondra Ochoa, 21, who was sentenced last year to six years in prison, and Alejandro DeLaTorre, 26, who was sentenced to five years. 

Court records show Ortiz had been convicted of multiple felonies since 2018, including for assault, robbery, and evading police. He was on parole at the time of the murder. Barajas has previous convictions for drug possession and carrying and selling knives.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.