The family of Kerrie Orozco, a native of Walnut who served as an Omaha police officer and who died in the line of duty last year, are scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama during the president’s visit to Omaha, today. The Omaha World-Herald reports Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer contacted Nebraska Democrat Rep. Brad Ashford last week to see if he could arrange the meeting. Ashford’s office then contacted the White House, which set up the meeting between Obama and Hector Orozco and his children, Natalia, Santiago and Olivia Ruth.
An attorney for Hector Orozco says Orozco hasn’t been told many details, but was looking forward to talking with the president. Orozco plans to hand the president a letter asking him to support the Kerrie Orozco Act. The bill, sponsored by Ashford, would speed the naturalization process for spouses, children and parents of first responders killed in the line of duty.
Current law allows an individual with a green card to immediately apply for citizenship if a spouse was a member of the military who died while in service. Ashford’s bill basically would offer first responders the same benefit. Representative David Young, a Republican who represents southwest and central Iowa, is one of the bill’s sponsors.
Hector Orozco came to the United States illegally in 1999 but has legal work status today, because of a visa issued in 2012. He was named a legal, permanent U.S. resident late last year. Absent a change in U.S. law, he now must wait five years to apply for citizenship. Ashford said Hector would have become a citizen quicker, had his wife lived.
Kerrie Orozco was 29 when she was shot and killed May 20th by a felon whom she and fellow fugitive task force officers were trying to arrest. She was killed on her last day of work before taking the remainder of her maternity leave to spend with Olivia Ruth. Her daughter had been born prematurely and was ready to be released from the hospital.
The letter to the president also will express Hector Orozco’s disappointment that the woman convicted of buying the gun that killed his wife was sentenced to one year probation instead of prison. In November, a federal judge in Atlanta sentenced 26-year old Jalita Johnson to one year of probation for lying when she bought the gun in April. Prosecutors said Johnson’s boyfriend, 26-year old Marcus Wheeler, a felon, gave her money and told her what to buy.
Wheeler fired nine rounds from the handgun. One shot struck Kerrie Orozco. Wheeler was killed when Sgt. Jeff Kopietz returned fire.