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Crime News Breaking News

Grieving Family Promotes $50,000 Reward After Loved One Gunned Down In LA By Apparent Sniper

The family of Jason Cortez, a tourist from Virginia shot by an apparent sniper in Los Angeles' Debs Park, flew across the country last week to plead for help.

By Megan Carpentier
Jason Cortez Ig

The family of a tourist killed for no apparent reason in Los Angeles is asking the public for their assistance.

Jason Cortez, 29, was shot in the back in Los Angeles's Debs Park sometime before 3:30 p.m. P.T. on Sept. 10 while visiting the area from northern Virginia, according to Los Angeles news station KTLA. A witness reportedly told authorities that a man, hiding in the bushes around 75 to 100 feet away from Cortez on the trail, shot him with a rifle and then fled on foot, according to local station KABC. Police described the man as "male, Hispanic, 5'10"-5'11", 20-30 years old" and said he'd been wearing a blue hoodie.

A passerby found Cortez, unresponsive and not breathing, on the trail and called 911 around 3:30 p.m. and performed CPR until paramedics arrived, according to news statio KCAL. When the paramedics arrived and took over, they noticed the wound. Cortez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to KCAL. Other than a composite sketch of the suspect developed with the witness who came forward, police were not able to develop any other leads.

On Friday, Candelario Cortez, Reyna Cortez and Corina Solorzano — Jason Cortez's father, mother and newlywed wife, respectively — joined Los Angeles Police Department officials and L.A. Councilmember Gil Cedillo to announce a $50,000 reward for information in the case.

"This is a very difficult time for our family," Candelario Cortez, said at Friday's press conference. "Please help us get some peace of mind."

“A piece of my heart died with my son,” Reyna Cortez said in Spanish, according to KCAL.

"Jason's family and I are desperate for answers and we need your help," Solorzano added. "We need to know who did this and why. We need to understand what happened."

Cortez, a budding photographer and filmmaker, was in Los Angeles to shoot pictures for a friend's project when he was gunned down.

"There is no motive behind this, " LAPD Det. Alex Abundis said at the press conference according to KABC. "I talk to the family, I meet with them on a regular basis and there's nothing I can say that will help them understand this."

Anyone with information on the case is encourage to call Abundis at (213) 486-8700 or, to share information anonymously, they can call 800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit www.LAcrimestoppers.org.

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