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$100,000 reward offered after 14-month-old boy is shot dead in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- A sign on the fence in front of his family's Hickory Street home reads Angel Mauro Cortez Nava, lists his date of birth and death, displays photos of him as a newborn and on a rocking horse and includes the words "We Love You."

What it does not convey is the outrage the 14-month-old's killing has caused inside and outside the Watts neighborhood where the child was gunned down by a bicyclist Monday night.


The shooting is "an awful tragedy" that has unsettled the department's highest ranks, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck told the department's oversight board Tuesday.

Teenage assassin
"Gang violence touches everybody," he said. "People have to understand that even though gang members may target each other, victims cross a wide, broad swath. It's extremely unfortunate."

A teenage assassin wearing a hoodie and riding a bicycle killed Angel and injured his father, Mauro Cortez, 24, as the man cradled his son on the sidewalk near his home, police said.

The cyclist fired several shots as he rode by, police said.

The infant was shot in the stomach and died at a hospital following surgery. The father was struck in the shoulder and was released from the hospital Tuesday.

They have not released a motive, but Beck, relatives and neighbors all pointed to the gang feud.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Cortez was wearing a purple T-shirt reading "I own a Honda, be nice to me" at the time of the shooting.

The attacker was black and the father is Latino, authorities said. Neighbors told the Times they may have been caught in the crossfire of a six-month turf war between Fudgetown, a black gang, and the Hispanic Barrio Grape Street gang, who reportedly use the color purple.

Cortez "didn't know nothing about people killing each other over the color purple," friend Luis Ramos told the Los Angeles Times. "He barely speaks English."

The city council voted Tuesday to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.

The Los Angeles Kings, on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup, doubled the reward by offering their own $50,000, the team announced Tuesday night.

Tim Leiweke, president of the group that owns the Kings, said the team was offering the reward "to make sure everyone knows this is unacceptable in our city."

In an interview with CBS2 Tuesday, Cortez said through a translator that he was devastated. He asked the public for help finding the gunman.

'This has to stop'
The gang feud has resulted in more than a half-dozen killings in the area in the last year, police said.

"I have seen plenty of people pass away here. For a child to go, this has to stop immediately," neighbor Marcus Williams said. "When a child, a child, a baby, this kid didn't have a chance at life. It really hurt. I'm afraid to let my kids play in the yard now. This is right across the street."

Cortez is an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, who did odd jobs, friends and relatives told the Times. When he showed up three years ago, the Cervantes family took him in, matriarch Sara Cervantes said.

Cortez had no links to any gang, neighbors said.

"He was always here playing with the baby. The baby was his life," said Maria Trujillo, another member of the family. "With these shootings going on, you don't feel safe in your own front yard," she added.

The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.