Constable Whitlock makes first court appearance

David Whitlock
David Whitlock

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Constable accused of shooting a woman in a Walmart parking lot came before a judge on Monday.

David Whitlock faces felony charges of assault and wanton endangerment. What landed him in the courtroom goes back to November of last year.

"He's facing a charge that could take away his freedom," said Whitlock's attorney Brian Butler. "It's tough but he is doing as well as can be expected."

Whitlock is accused of shooting alleged shoplifter Tammie Ortiz, also known as Tammy Jamian at a Walmart in PRP.

Surveillance video shows Ortiz walking out of the store.

Constable Whitlock says he was off duty and shopping when security officers asked him to stop Ortiz.

In the video, Whitlock is seen getting out of his vehicle and runs up to Ortiz's truck with his weapon drawn. She tries to back away and then pull off, that's when police say she was shot in the arm and face by Whitlock.

In the video and in new discovery obtained by WAVE 3, there are discrepancies with Whitlock's accounts of what happened that day.

Whitlock told police he unintentionally shot Ortiz because she ran over his foot as he tried to stop her.

But there was no proof in the video and according to the discovery a nurse told an LMPD officer that Whitlock didn't break anything in his foot.

Police say Whitlock made two 911 calls after the shooting. The first to MetroSafe, the second to Kentucky State Police, both with varying accounts of what happened.

In Police interviews, Ortiz says she never saw Whitlock pull out a badge or his gun. She told police "all I know is that I was shot."

Ortiz has had a history of run ins with the law. Recently picked up on another shoplifting charge at a local Kmart

The defense says that will help their case.

"Mrs. Ortiz got in trouble again and what will become clear is that she was shoplifting that day," said Butler. "Certainly her credibility before and after will come into play."

Within the next week, Whitlock will be fingerprinted and will get a mug shot. But he will not have to post his $10,000 bond or go to jail. He'll only have to pay it, if he violates the judges' orders.

He was ordered not to have any contact with Ortiz and can not possess any firearms.

His attorney says it's still unclear if he will serve as a constable since he can't have a gun.

State Representative Joni Jenkins is among some Kentucky lawmakers who want gun carrying constables off the street.

The new discovery in the case makes Jenkins more motivated to get her bill passed that seeks a constitutional amendment to abolish the state elected office.

"It's an office that does not have much accountability," she told WAVE 3 News. "Constables become peace officers the moment their elected without any training they're allowed to carry guns and it's a system that has outlived it's purposes,"she said.

Jenkins' bill, that has been endorsed by the state's Sheriff's Association and the Chiefs of Police, will be heard next week in Frankfort.

Republican Senator Julie Denton has a similar bill.

As a back-up, Jenkins is also looking at what can be done to limit a constable's powers. She's waiting on an Attorney General's opinion on that issue.

Whitlock will be back in court March 21.

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