A Hidden Valley man shot to death Friday night was somebody who “would do anything for anybody,” according to his mother.
Justin Hein, 27, was pronounced dead just after the 7 p.m. shooting in a home off North Starview Lane, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Carlos Correra Ortiz, 27, a roommate in the home, is charged with first-degree murder. He admitted to drinking and smoking “dab” earlier in the day before he “freaked out” and shot Hein, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Hein, who was developmentally challenged, moved to Maricopa several months ago from Wisconsin to live with his brother, Jason, who has significant health issues, including a severe heart condition that has required several surgeries and long hospital stays, according to their mother, Julia Zacharias Hein.
Last year, a piece of heavy equipment backed over Jason’s car in the Walmart parking lot while he was inside, his mother said. He suffered neck and back injuries.
Julia Hein and her husband, Mark, had lived in Maricopa until about two years ago, when they moved back to Wisconsin, where she grew up. While here, she had worked for the Arizona Department of Child Safety. They have two other children and own the home on Starview Lane where Justin and Jason were living. Ortiz had been a roommate for about a year.
The couple was in Wisconsin when they heard the news and returned to Maricopa in the wake of their son’s death.
“I don’t know what was wrong with this guy,” she said of Ortiz. “For this to happen is just beyond my comprehension.”
‘I DON’T KNOW WHY HE SHOT HIM’
What Julia Hein knows about her son’s tragic death comes from Jason’s description of the events that night.
He told her the three men were hanging out at home. Justin and Ortiz were drinking beer when Jason, who does not drink alcohol, went to the supermarket to buy food to make dinner. When he returned all was fine. But 15 minutes later, for some reason Ortiz threw his cellphone, which struck Justin in the foot. Justin said something like, “Whoa! What’s up?”
With that, Jason told his mother, Ortiz went to his bedroom and emerged with a Glock 43, a 9mm pistol, in his hand. He fired three times, each shot striking Justin in the chest. As Justin fell to the floor, Jason turned and ran from the gunfire before returning to hold his dying brother in his arms. He called 911 and his mother.
“He was just screaming, ‘He shot him, he shot him. Carlos shot Justin. I don’t know why he shot him,’” Julie Hein said. “He said he was trying to hold the blood in.”
Not long after, paramedics arrived at the home and pronounced Justin dead.
“This is hard to say, but I was the one who said to Jason, ‘Why don’t you get a roommate?’ to help pay the bills,” Julia Hein said.
She said her boys had told her that Ortiz began having trouble paying rent after he was laid off from his job early last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over Christmas, when the brothers were back in Wisconsin celebrating the holiday with family, Ortiz became threatening and bullying during a phone call, saying he couldn’t pay all of the $400 monthly rent and he wasn’t moving out, Julie Hein said.
In the weeks since, however, it was her understanding that the air had cleared and everyone was getting along again, she added.
Ortiz, who remained at the home until deputies arrived on scene, was arrested and booked into Pinal County Jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He remains in jail and awaits a Jan. 22 preliminary hearing.
Julie Hein thanked the people in Hidden Valley and Maricopa who have reached out to support the family at this difficult time and said it was important to her that people know Justin’s story. (A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up on behalf of the family to help with funeral and hotel expenses.)
“I want him to matter,” she said.
“Justin was a very kind and thoughtful person. He was a very sweet boy. That’s how I looked at him, as my boy. He was a very hard worker. He would do anything for anybody.”