Things That Matter

Jason Cortez Was Killed By a Sniper While He Was Hiking In Los Angeles, Now His Family Pleads For Answers

The family of the late Jason Cortez continues to grieve as they wonder what happened to the 29-year-old photographer. In September, the Virginia man was shot and killed while he was hiking a Los Angeles trail while visiting.

The police say that Cortez was shot by a sniper, although they do not know what the motive could be. Currently, the LAPD is offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who might have any information about who killed Jason Cortez.

Newlywed Jason Cortez died just within months of his first anniversary with his wife, Corina Solorzano. The couple were together for seven years before they tied the knot in November 2020. And now, Solorzano will have to spend Christmas without the man she married.

“… It’s the first [holiday season] I’ll celebrate without him in seven years,” she told KABC. “Jason’s family and I are desperate for answers and we need your help. We need to know who did this and why. We need to understand what happened.”

She also described her husband as “an amazing son and brother and loyal friend.”

A GoFundMe page set up to “help alleviate the financial burdens that Jason’s family will encounter in the coming months,” described Cortez as “an incredible friend,” who “was loved by so many people.”

“He was so dedicated, intelligent, and a free spirit,” said the page, organized by Solorzano. “His love for his family & friends transcended over everything. He always had a smile and made light of every situation he was dealt.”

The GoFundMe page also described Jason Cortez as an adventurous man who loved travelling and had big dreams for the future. He and his wife, Corina, had previously bought their first home together specifically to provide a yard for their beloved dog, Stella. The page is filled with photos of him holding a camera, snapping photos.

“Jason was a family man — he loved his family and would do anything and everything for those he loved,” reads the page.

According to official reports, on September 10 at 3:30 p.m., a passerby found Cortez alone and unresponsive on a hiking trail in the Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in Montecito Heights. The passerby called 911 before attempting CPR on Cortez.

When first responders arrived at the scene, they noticed that Cortez was wounded. A later investigation by the LAPD found that Cortez had been killed by a single shot from a man hiding in the bushes about 75 to 100 feet away from him.

The police sketch of the suspected shooter shows a Hispanic male, between 20 and 30 years old, 5’10” to 5’11” tall. At the time of the shooting, the suspect was wearing a blue hoodie.

Now, Cortez’s family pleads with the public for answers so they can get closure.

“This is a very difficult time for our family,” Cortez’s father, Candelario Cortez, said at a press conference held in Los Angeles last Friday. “The situation we never imagined. Please help us get some peace of mind.”

If you or anyone you know has information on Jason Cortez’s murder, call Detective Abundis at 213-486-8700. For anonymous tips, call 800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit www.LAcrimestoppers.org.

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