VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The woman arrested after a Virginia Beach police officer shot a man to death is speaking out from inside jail.
Deshawn Whitaker, 28, died in the hospital after an officer shot him at the Newtown Baker Crossing shopping center Thursday around 3:30 p.m.
Jacqueline Ortiz, 20, was arrested in the incident and is now in custody at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. She said she and Whitaker had been married for a year.
A Virginia Beach police spokesperson said it all started when the officer got an Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) hit on a stolen vehicle. Police said as the officer walked up to the car, Whitaker, who was driving the car, took off.
Police then said the passenger, Ortiz, resisted arrest and then tried to grab a gun that she had.
But Ortiz tells a different story.
“I was telling the officer, ‘I am armed, but I’m not going to do nothing.’ The officer kept pressing on me like, 'Reach for it and I'm going to shoot you' and I was telling him, 'I'm not going to reach for it,'” Ortiz told 13News Now in a jailhouse interview.
Ortiz said she didn't reach for her gun during her struggle with the officer; however, she did admit that she isn't legally allowed to have one.
Police said, Whitaker returned and pointed a gun at the officer. That's when the officer opened fire.
Ortiz said she did see Whitaker reach in his bag, but said he only did it to defend her because she said the officer had a gun pointed at the back of her head.
She said after the officer shot Whitaker, she threw her gun on the ground so she wouldn't be seen as a threat.
“The last thing I heard my husband say before he got shot was, ‘Get off my wife,’” Ortiz said.
"That officer, he could've shot my husband in the leg, shoulder, anywhere else to get him to stop," Ortiz continued.
Ortiz told 13News Now she and Whitaker knew the car was stolen, which is why Whitaker ran when the officer walked up. However, Ortiz said they did not steal the car.
Ortiz said a friend loaned the car to Whitaker and they only figured out it was stolen two days before the shooting. But Ortiz said they never reported it to police.
She said she has regrets about their decisions that day. She believes Whitaker would still be alive if they had acted differently when police arrived.
“Just put your hands up. Don’t even react because if I didn’t react and my husband didn’t react, my baby still would be here right now. All I can say is, if there is a chance I get out, I don't ever want to touch a gun again," Ortiz said with tears in her eyes.
Ortiz said Whitaker was a kind person who didn't like to argue. She said he leaves behind a son.
“I know just as much as this hit me, it’s going to hit his son 'cause he love his daddy," Ortiz said.
Ortiz faces several charges including possession of stolen property and gun charges. She is scheduled to appear in court on March 10.
The officer involved was treated for minor injuries and is on administrative leave, which is routine for cases like these.
You can watch the full jailhouse interview below: