Man accused of assaulting school superintendent

Domingo Ortiz (PCSO photo)

The superintendent for Maricopa Unified School District was the victim of an alleged aggravated assault by a man who had been removed from an Amtrak train, police said Monday.

MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut. Photo by Michelle Chance

Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado said 65-year-old Domingo Ortiz Jr. was charged with trespassing, criminal damage and aggravated assault after causing a disturbance at the MUSD administrative building Monday at around 8 a.m.

“(Ortiz) was making incoherent statements about issues between a school in Scottsdale and the Maricopa School District,” Alvarado said.

That’s when Ortiz reportedly “pushed” Superintendent Steve Chestnut inside the district lobby. Chestnut did not report any injuries to police, Alvarado said.

According to ARS 13-1203, a person commits aggravated assault if the person commits the assault while knowing or having reason to know that the victim is “a teacher or other person employed by any school and the teacher or other employee is on the grounds of a school.”

Chestnut declined to comment.

After the incident, Ortiz left the building saying he was “going to go and get other men to come back and take care of this problem,” Alvarado said.

MPD was dispatched to the scene, but prior to their arrival, Alvarado said the suspect used a large rock to shatter the rear window of another MUSD employee’s vehicle.

Police encountered Ortiz near the east side of the administrative building, where they eventually arrested him.

However, Alvarado said the incident was not the first time MPD had dealt with Ortiz Monday.

Earlier in the morning, police responded twice to disturbances reportedly caused by Ortiz at the train tracks near the Amtrak station and the StageStop Marketplace on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

“He had been kicked off the train when it stopped in Maricopa because he didn’t have any fare money to continue on,” Alvarado said.

From the Amtrak station, Alvarado said Ortiz walked to the StageStop Marketplace and caused the second disturbance.

Prosecution was not pursued by those who reported Ortiz to police in the first two incidents, Alvarado said.

 “We couldn’t transport him anywhere because he didn’t want to go anywhere, and he refused taxi services, so we left him and told him to stay off the tracks and out of StageStop,” Alvarado said.

After the warning, Alvarado said Ortiz walked across the street to the MUSD administrative building and committed the third incident.

Alvarado said the suspect did not provide a motive for the assault, but speculated his actions may have something to do with mental illness.

Ortiz was booked Monday in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence.