By Lauren Ibarra
A $20,000 reward has been offered by County Supervisor Hilda Solis for information leading to an arrest for the 2013 murder of Gabriel Soto.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced the reward on Nov. 19, two years after the homicide occurred.
Gabriel Soto, a former student who played for East Los Angeles College’s football team from 2011-2012, was gunned down by an unknown assailant on May 25, 2013 at his home in East Los Angeles, who also shot his friend.
The friend was not critically injured.
Soto’s family is still coping with the loss and are seeking justice for his unresolved murder. They hope that the $20,000 reward will encourage someone to come forward with information.
After two years of trying to obtain approval for the reward offered, County Supervisor Hilda Solis approved it. The former county supervisor did not previously approve the reward, due to the case being an unsolved homicide.
“Once Hilda Solis was elected, she was absolutely touched by his story and the type of person Gabriel was. She wants to see justice served,” Soto’s cousin, Melissa Lind said.
Soto is remembered for the hard work he dedicated to his goals on the field. “Football was his life, his passion, his dream,” Lind said.
Soto had attended Lincoln University in Missouri on an athletic scholarship after attending ELAC.
When Soto passed away in 2013, his former teammates and coaches at Lincoln University took turns wearing his jersey number for each game of the 2013-2014 season to support and honor Soto.
His jersey number, 33, is used to represent Soto as he wore the number when he played at Garfield High School, ELAC and Lincoln University.
Other ways Soto has been remembered, on and off the field, have been through his family.
“We are a very close-knit family,” Lind said. “My aunt is at his gravesite every day, and every month on the 25th. We all get together to pray the rosary.” Many times Soto’s mother wonders why it could not have been her, Lind said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
People who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.