Two SCOPE volunteers have been fired for their involvement in a burglary over the weekend where a man living in a home was assaulted.
The incident started around 11 p.m. Saturday. Court documents state 22-year-old Eric Ortiz showed up at the home on the 1000 block of E. 29th Avenue and identified himself as a sheriff's deputy and part of the gang task force. Ortiz broke into the detached garage and started hitting the victim inside over a personal dispute.
Witnesses also said a woman with Ortiz was wearing an official looking uniform too, but neither she nor Ortiz are deputies.
People at the home say the woman and another man who accompanied Ortiz were both SCOPE volunteers, and even drove up in an official SCOPE car, but just stood by as the crime happened.
"SCOPE has been around nearly 20 years now. We have had very few instances similar to this," SCOPE Director Rick Scott said.
Scott said Saturday night's incident is disappointing, and both of the volunteers were fired Tuesday morning.
"We're representing the community and sheriff's office in a positive way so if there's anything in a negative way, we can remove them from the program," Scott said.
SCOPE volunteer duties include helping deputies fingerprint crime scenes. They also monitor the perimeters of those scenes but are not commissioned officers. They don't carry a weapon and can't arrest people.
Scott said all of their 500 volunteers go through a three part criminal background check. The people living at the home say they don't know how the two volunteers ever passed.
The two volunteers haven't been charged with anything, so they're not being identified at this time. Eric Ortiz faces charges of first degree burglary and a second degree charge of impersonating a police officer.
Investigators say both the perpetrators and the victims knew each other.