Authorities and relatives of a 38-year-old father who was fatally shot from behind while waiting to eat dinner with his family were hoping that a $10,000 reward announced Tuesday will lead to the arrest of the suspect in the June 2013 homicide.
Erick Julian Ortega, a documented gang member, has been in hiding since being identified last summer as a suspect in the shooting death of Bobby Reynolds, according to police.
On Tuesday, the FBI joined Redondo Beach police in announcing a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Ortega, who is covered head to toe in tattoos and considered armed and dangerous.
Police believe family and fellow North Side Redondo 13 gang members may be helping 28-year-old Ortega evade investigators.
“We’re asking someone to break the silence and tell us where Erick Julian Ortega is and, in doing that, mend the hearts of people on both sides of this tragedy,” said Redondo Beach Police Department Chief Joe Leonardi at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Police said Reynolds’ shooting — about 8 p.m. June 21 in the 2400 block of Ralston Lane (map) — was not random, and that he was specifically targeted by Ortega. The motive was still under investigation, police Sgt. Shawn Freeman said.
Ortega “approached him silently, callously and, apparently without warning, from behind,” Leonardi said.
Reynolds’ son was in the family home and heard his father get shot, said the victim’s wife, whose name is Monica Reynolds, according to the Daily Breeze.
Bobby Reynolds was waiting for his wife and daughter to arrive with food so they could eat dinner together, Monica Reynolds said after Tuesday’s news conference.
She and her daughter found his body, lying on the sidewalk. He died after being taken to a hospital, according to police.
“He didn’t deserve that,” Monica Reynolds said. “I want someone to speak up.”
She and other family members urged anyone who may be helping Ortega to turn him in.
“People know where he’s at. I don’t understand how anybody can sit with that information and not help,” Monica Reynolds said. “Our whole family needs closure. And until he’s turned in, until he’s in jail where he belongs for this crime, then we don’t have that that closure, and every single day is a nightmare.”
A $1 million state arrest warrant has been issued for Ortega, Leonardi said. A federal warrant was issued Feb. 20 after Ortega was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, according to the FBI, which was assisting in the “fugitive investigation.”
A Chrysler 300 that was believed to be the getaway vehicle was driven by a second Hispanic male and was found a few blocks from the scene of the killing, according to police.
A man and a woman with ties to Ortega were arrested shortly after the shooting, but they were released, Freeman said.
Ortega may have traveled to Arkansas or Oklahoma, according to an FBI “wanted” flyer. He also goes by “Bonz,” “Bones,” or Bonez,” the flyer stated.
He was described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 160 pounds, and Hispanic, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Ortega has a tattoo that reads “HA” for Harbor Area on the back of his head, but that may be covered with grown-out hair, Freeman said.
The FBI’s flyer stated Ortega also has a marijuana leaf tattoo on his right arm; the words “PADRE PARDON ME,” “REDONDO BEACH,” and “FATHER FORGIVE” on his chest with a cross; a clown on his left shoulder; a naked woman on his right shoulder; and the words “REDONDO HOW DO YOU WANT IT” on his abdomen.
Anyone who sees Ortega or has information on his whereabouts was urged to immediately call the FBI at 310-477-6565.