$50,000 reward offered in slaying of 'beautiful little Angel'
Mauro Cortez was cradling his 1-year-old son, Angel Mauro Cortez Nava, in his arms about 7:50 p.m. Monday on a sidewalk near 105th and Hickory streets when a man on a bike opened fire, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
At a press conference to announce the reward, Deputy Police Chief Pat Gannon held photos of the child, whom he called "this beautiful little Angel." The boy's father was shot in the shoulder. The baby was hit in his upper body and died later at a hospital.
Police believe that because the assailant was on a bike, he probably lives in the neighborhood.
Mauro Cortez spoke briefly to reporters in Spanish, then left the podium in tears.
Friends and family said Cortez is an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, who does odd jobs. He showed up looking lost three years ago and the Cervantes family took him in, said Sara Cervantes, the family matriarch.
Since then, he has lived with the Cervanteses. He later got married, and in April 2011 the couple had their first child -– Angel.
Another member of the extended family, Maria Trujillo, said: "He was always here playing with the baby. The baby was his life.
“With these shootings going on, you don’t feel safe in your own frontyard,” she added.
Cortez was wearing a purple shirt, a color associated with the Barrio Grape Street gang. A family member told him to take the shirt off because of gang violence involving Grape Street that has plagued the area in the last six months. Grape Street is one block west of Hickory. Cortez complied, but apparently another man in the group was wearing a purple shirt.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Sam Quinones
Photo: Family photo of Angel Mauro Cortez Nava