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Reward offered for murder of young husband

August 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than one year after the crime, a young man's murder remains unsolved. On Wednesday, Los Angeles city officials offered a reward, as his widow made an emotional plea, hoping to find the killer.Yesenia Ortega says she will never forget watching her husband die right in front of her. Antonio Ortega Jr., 29, was shot to death more than one year ago on the Fourth of July weekend while the couple was in their car getting ready to leave a family barbeque.

"I began to say I can't tell the difference between fireworks and gunshots. When I started to feel glass on the back of my head and face," said Yesenia Ortega.

Someone walked up to the driver's side of their vehicle and fired multiple gun shots, striking Antonio in the leg and chest. It happened in front of Yesenia's parent's home on the 1400 block of North Watson Avenue in Wilmington. Yesenia believes gang members are responsible, but so far there are no suspects.

"I couldn't help my husband. We all stood here. Hundreds of people came out," said Yesenia in tears.

Hundreds of people were there, yet nobody has come forward with any clues. On Wednesday, the LAPD announced a $50,000 reward for information that will lead to an arrest.

"Half of my life I spent with him and it began here in this house, and it ended it here," said Yesenia.

Antonio was Yesenia's high school sweetheart. She met him when she was 15 years old. Antonio would have turned 31 last week.

"Instead of us spending his day creating new memories, or enjoying just the day, I had to spend it with my family and my friends at the cemetery," said Yesenia.

Authorities believe someone knows the identity of the gunman. If you have any information, you are asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7, or (877) 527-3247. Officials say all information will be kept confidential.

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