Family pleads for help in unsolved murder of hiker in Los Angeles

Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 3:48 AM CST
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LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS) - A grieving family is asking for the public’s help catching the shooter who killed a 29-year-old photographer hiking in a Los Angeles park.

Father Candelario Cortez and his family are shattered after someone killed 29-year-old Jason Cortez by shooting him in the back at Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in September. The Virginia resident and filmmaker was visiting Los Angeles to take pictures at the park for a friend’s project when the gunman randomly opened fire.

A $50,000 reward is now being offered to solve Jason Cortez’s murder.

Jason Cortez, a 29-year-old Virginia resident and filmmaker, died while visiting Los Angeles...
Jason Cortez, a 29-year-old Virginia resident and filmmaker, died while visiting Los Angeles after he was shot in the back at a park. A $50,000 reward is being offered to solve his murder.(Source: LAPD, KCAL/KCBS via CNN)

“This is a situation we never imagined we’d be in. Please help us,” Candelario Cortez said.

Police released a sketch of the gunman who was seen by a witness holding a rifle near a bush after the shooting. He is described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s who is about 5′10″ or 5′11″ in height.

No other evidence has been found at the park, and no other witnesses have come forward.

Jason Cortez’s mother, Reyna Cortez, fought through tears as she spoke of her son.

“A piece of my heart died with my son,” she said in Spanish.

The Los Angeles Police Department, along with City Councilman Gil Cedillo’s office, announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest. Both detectives and relatives are puzzled as to a motive for the shooting.

Jason Cortez was a recent college graduate who’d just gotten married and purchased a home. His wife, Corina Solorzano, is pleading for help to bring the family justice.

“Jason was not only my husband and an amazing son and brother and loyal friend. 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,” she said.

Anyone with information about this murder can contact LAPD Detective Abundis at (213) 386-8700.

Copyright 2021 KCAL/KCBS via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.