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Slain Brudder’s Bouncer Was On Way To Better Life After Losing Job, Home

By Kelly Bauer | April 14, 2016 6:34am | Updated on April 14, 2016 1:55pm
 Angel Ortiz Jr., 51, was an optimistic family man, relatives said. He was working as a bouncer at Brudder's when he was shot and killed in early April.
Angel Ortiz Jr., 51, was an optimistic family man, relatives said. He was working as a bouncer at Brudder's when he was shot and killed in early April.
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Facebook/Angel Ortiz

CHICAGO — After months of hardships, it looked like things were falling into place for Angel Ortiz Jr.: His ill wife was doing better, he seemed to be on the verge of finding a full-time job and he was living with his family after a period of homelessness.

But Ortiz, a bouncer at Brudder’s, was shot and killed April 2 while working at the Old Irving Park bar.

Ortiz wasn’t the intended victim, said his younger brother, Anibal, who also worked at Brudder’s, 3600 N. Pulaski Road.

They were inside the bar when something happened outside — a man became upset about “somebody else looking at his girlfriend,” Anibal said. The man took out a gun and somebody told him if he pulled it out he’d better use it.

 Angel Ortiz Jr. loved his four grandkids, said Joe Sanchez, Angel's son.
Angel Ortiz Jr. loved his four grandkids, said Joe Sanchez, Angel's son.
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Facebook/Angel Ortiz

Kelly Bauer reports on the tragic death of Angel Ortiz

The man opened fire, Anibal said. A bullet tore through Brudder’s window, hitting Ortiz in the head.

Anibal ran to his brother, passing out when he saw what had happened. A woman — a nurse — tried to revive Angel, Anibal said.

“The ambulance came and took him to the hospital,” Anibal said. The family joined him there, waiting for news. “We stood there all night.”

Angel was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, police said. Joe Sanchez, Ortiz’s son, remembers the exact time his father died: 5:39 a.m.

“My mom took it hard,” Joe said on Wednesday. “It comes and goes. It’s still kind of like, I can’t believe it.

“He’s gone.”

Angel Ortiz Jr. loved his four grandkids, said Joe Sanchez, Angel's son. [Facebook/Angel Ortiz]

‘He Was Happy’

Angel, a father of two and grandfather of four, was killed just as things were beginning to fall back into place after years of hardship. He was laid off two years ago, family said, leading to money problems.

“He’d been through a lot,” Anibal said on Wednesday. “He had his ups and downs.”

Angel, 51, worked temporary jobs, paying off bills while trying to find something full time. He couldn’t afford rent. He and Rosaline, his wife of more than 30 years, had to move out and live away from each other, with Angel bouncing between family members’ homes. Rosaline struggled with health issues and had surgery. Angel would walk or take the bus to part-time jobs, trying to pay bills.

Sometimes, Anibal said, Angel didn’t have money for food.

RELATED: Brudder's Offers $2,500 Reward For Information On Angel Ortiz's Killer

But Angel was always optimistic, his family said. He visited and spoke with Rosaline as frequently as he could, and in less than a year he was working again, though he wasn’t able to find a full-time job. The couple moved into Anibal’s home.

“He always had a positive outlook,” Joe said. “He felt bad because he knew that he wasn’t providing for my mom, and he wanted to be there and do stuff for my brother, and he just couldn’t. But throughout he was always very positive.”

Angel got a temporary job at a metalworking factory, but “temporary” stretched into nearly a year. They liked him, Joe said, and gave him a raise not long before the shooting. There was talk of making him full time.

“He was really excited,” Joe said. “It was finally like going back to similar work that he had before, getting back into the swing of things.”

“He was at peace. He was happy,” Anibal added. “I noticed on his face that he was like, ‘OK, now I’m set where I am, I’m happy now.’”

RELATED: Deadly Brudder's Shooting Came After 40+ 911 Calls About Troubled Bar

Angel still worked side jobs — painting, helping people move — and he became a bouncer at Brudder’s. He made friends there, Anibal said, and there weren’t threats or moments when the brothers were afraid for their safety.

The day before the shooting, Joe called his dad to talk about Rosaline’s health and sports.

“He was good. He was really good,” Joe said. “Things were well with my mom. … Things were going well with his job.

“I remember coming out of it, saying, ‘Wow, I’m happy things are going better for him.’ He was in really good spirits.”

Things were falling into place for Angel Ortiz, who had struggled after being laid off, relatives said. But on April 2, the father and grandfather was shot and killed while working at Brudder's. [Facebook/Angel Ortiz]

‘I Miss Him So Much’

Angel was buried on April 8. The family was able to raise just enough money to cover the service, they said — Angel, still looking for full-time work when he was killed, didn't have life insurance.

Remembering Angel, his son, brother and sister all said the same thing: He was optimistic, even when going through hard times, and he was dedicated to his family.

“He always was a positive person. Sure, he had his moments, obviously …,” Joe said. But for the most part, his dad was “always happy, always thought things were going to work out no matter how hard things were in that moment.”

Angel and Anibal went “through a lot” when they were growing up, Anibal said, and they fought. They didn’t speak for a few years, but grew close when Angel was 19 or 20. Anibal said he regrets those lost years.

“We got together and we got even closer,” Anibal said. “When I needed something from him, he was always there. I miss him. I miss him so much.”

Angel Ortiz was a fan of the Bears, his family said. Angel and his son, Joe, would chat about the team and the family would watch games together. [YouCaring]

Joe is not Angel’s biological son, but that never affected how Angel treated him and his brother, Nicholas, Joe said. He was their dad.

As a child, Joe remembered, there were times when his family didn’t have electricity — but Angel would make them laugh and play board games. During Rosaline’s illnesses, when “things were dark,” his father was still able to “connect, talk” and comfort his sons, he said.

RELATED: Angry Neighbors Call Brudder's a Trouble Magnet; Alderman Vows Crack Down 

And Angel loved his four grandchildren, Joe’s kids, keeping photos of them in his wallet, bragging about them whenever he could and letting them crawl all over him during visits. Joe’s 1-year-old son saw photos of his grandpa while Joe looked for pictures for Angel’s memorial. He walked up, saying, “grandpa, grandpa,” Joe said.

It was tough to tell them Angel was gone, he said.

“I wouldn’t be who I am” without Angel, Joe said. “I’ve been through quite a bit myself … being able to just stay, endure and stay positive, stay tough, determined throughout anything, that’s always just something I think I got because of him.

“A lot of it comes to light, thinking about it now. There’s a lot there he left with us, he left with me, personally.”

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