No matter what happens tonight at the Staples Center, the LA Kings have already won over Los Angeles with their compassion.
The hockey team has pledged $50,000 to help police search for the killer of Angel Mauro Cortez Nava, a 14-month baby boy who was fatally shot Monday night -- the result of apparent gang violence.
In a statement on the team's site, Kings Governor Timothy J. Leiweke said Tuesday:
During such an exciting time such as this we can’t lose sight of the importance and responsibility we all share in keeping our community safe .. Our players and staff feel a tremendous obligation to do everything we can to help find who committed this terrible act of irresponsibility and hopefully this can contribute to the effort to acquire the information necessary to find who did this and make sure everyone knows this is unacceptable in our city.
The sum pushes the total reward up to $100,000. The Los Angeles City Council had pledged $50,000 to catch Nava's killer earlier that day.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck also commented on the tragedy Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. "Gang violence touches everybody," Beck said during the department's oversight board. "People have to understand that even though gang members may target each other, victims cross a wide, broad swath. It's extremely unfortunate."
Angel was in the arms of his father, 24-year-old Mauro Cortez, when the gunman rode by on a bicycle Monday evening and fired several rounds. Angel was hit in the upper torso and his father was hit in the shoulder.
Both were rushed to the hospital, but Angel died at around 11 p.m. Mauro emerged from the ordeal in stable physical condition.
Police described the suspect as a black male and estimated his age between 15-18 years old. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie.
Police say the motive for the shooting is unknown, but the Los Angeles Times makes a connection between the seemingly random shooting (Cortez was not affiliated with any gangs) and the gang violence that has plagued the Watts-area neighborhood.
Before the shooting, relatives told Cortez to remove the purple shirt he was wearing because it could be misconstrued as an association with the latino Barrio Grape Street gang, reports the Times. Cortez complied, but someone in the group was still wearing purple when he and his baby were shot that night.
Police captain Phillip Tingirides expressed concern about possible retaliation for Angel's murder to KTLA. In the video above, Capt. Tingirides says, "What we really need to do is get a hold of whoever did this, take them out of the street [and] get them whatever help or whatever incarceration justice brings to them."
The police urge anyone with information about the shooting to contact Criminal Gang Homicide Detectives at (213) 485-4175. During non-business hours or on weekends, call (877) LAPD-24-7. The LAPD has further instructions for tipsters who want to remain anonymous.