help solve the murder of Diego Ortega-Reza
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Homicide Detectives and Family Members Plea to the Public for Information that will Help Solve the Murder of Diego Ortega-Reza
On Wednesday, October 20, 2021, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Bureau detectives held a press conference near the area where Diego Ortega-Reza was shot back in July of 2021. Lieutenant Charles Calderaro announced a $15,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking Diego’s life. The reward is sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.
Diego was a shy, yet enthusiastic teenager who had just graduated from high school and was looking forward to going to college. Like most teenagers, he enjoyed gatherings with friends and family. His sweet nature and effervescence were obvious, and were characteristics which endeared him to his siblings and friends.
On July 5, 2021, at approximately 12:45 a.m., 18-year-old Diego was in the front passenger seat of a gray Toyota Sienna minivan. Diego, along with his younger brother and a friend were returning home from a 4th of July party. They were driving westbound on Cesar Chavez Avenue. As they approached the intersection of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Lorena Street, an unknown person fired gunshots at their vehicle. Tragically, Diego was struck by gunfire and sustained a fatal gunshot to the head. The driver of the vehicle, immediately drove to a nearby hospital and Diego was then transferred to a trauma center where he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. Diego died on July 10, 2021.
“I know somebody saw something. It was a very special day in this country. Somebody had to be outside, they saw, they heard something. Please help us. The entire family is devastated. My other son was a passenger and he is doing badly. He wanted to be here but he couldn’t. He can’t, he has taken it badly. Whoever did this has caused an immeasurable pain to us. My son was not a bad person, he had no tattoos, nothing,” said in Spanish Diego’s mom, Socorro Ortega. “Do not defund the police that help us, investigators, please do not take away funds. They’re crucial, there is not enough police on the streets,” she added.
Sheriff Villanueva thanked the Board of Supervisors for approving the reward but noted that more is needed. “It takes investigators to solve these crimes, it takes patrol deputies to prevent them from happening, and it takes a lot of work in between. From 2019 to now, there has been an 87% increase in homicides while we’re being defunded, while we’re losing homicide investigators and we’re seeing a reduction in patrol deputies,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
“I was moved to put forward this reward in an effort to call on residents to help us bring accountability to the murder of Diego,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “I encourage members of the public with information pertaining to this heinous crime to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau. What happened to Diego was tragic. The County will continue to make investments in community prevention strategies to address community trauma and violence. By working together across community and local government agencies, we can enhance the public safety of our communities,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis.
If you have information about Diego’s senseless murder, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or if you prefer to provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.