$50,000 reward offered after fatal Los Angeles shooting

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a gunman who fatally shot a Virginia man while he was visiting Los Angeles.  

Jason Cortez, 29, was walking on a hiking trail in Montecito Heights on Sept. 10 when he was fatally shot in the back with a rifle, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. 

The LAPD says the gunman was possibly 75 to 100 feet away from Cortez when the shot was fired. Cortez’s wife, Cornia Solorzano, the LAPD and a city councilman are now pleading with the public for help in the case. 

“This was supposed to be our first Christmas and New Year’s together as a married couple, but now it’s the first I’ll celebrate without him in seven years,” Solorzano said during a news conference on Friday. “Jason’s family and I are desperate for answers, and we need your help.”

Cortez’s family hopes that the reward will help them bring some answers. The LAPD said that Cortez was “sniped” at random.

“This is … just another senseless killing,” Detective Alex Abundis said. “There is no reason, there is no motive behind this.”

Described as a creative person who created music and videos and did editing, Cortez had flown to the city the previous day and was working on a project with a friend when he was gunned down.

The Cortez family spoke to NewsNation’s Marni Hughes on Tuesday. Solorzano said one of the things she misses the most about Cortez is his dedication to his family and friends.

“He made me laugh constantly,” she said. “He loved his mother very dearly. He would do anything for anyone. That’s why he was over there [in California}. He was helping a friend out because that’s the kind of person he was.”

Cortez’s father, Candelario, said this is a situation that he never thought his family would be in.

“It’s very difficult for us to comprehend what happened…what we don’t know. We got a lot of questions, but no answers. It’s going to be a very difficult Christmas for us.”

Cortez’s mother, Renya Nativi De Cortez, broke down in tears when she talked about her son. 

“My son…he was my first son. This Christmas is no Christmas to me. He [would] call me twice a day to tell me, I love you, mama.” When I go to bed, I’m crying. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m crying. When I get up in the morning, I’m crying. I don’t have a life. So, I tell people…call the police if you see something, please. We need help.”

You can watch the rest of Cortez’s interview down in the video player down below.

The suspected gunman is described as being 20 to 30 years old and stands at 5 feet, 10 inches to 5 feet, 11 inches tall. He was wearing a blue hoodie at the time of the shooting, police said. He was last seen heading north through the park trails. 

No arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call LAPD Detective Abundis at 213-486-8700.

NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.

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