Aug. 13-The mystery surrounding Samuel Cordero's death may revolve around one central question: Why was he at Ragle Park before daylight Wednesday?
Santa Fe police Capt. Aaron Ortiz said Cordero's car was found by officers at the park, indicating he had stepped out of his vehicle there at an unusual time Wednesday morning.
"We know he drove there," Ortiz said, "but [we are still investigating] why he was within the park away from his vehicle."
Santa Fe police were dispatched to Ragle Park at 4:37 a.m. Wednesday following a "man down" call, according to a news release that day. Ortiz said the call was made by a citizen who found Cordero, 60, in the park. He added the caller did not report hearing any shots.
Cordero was pronounced dead at the scene. The release stated he suffered at least one fatal gunshot wound, but did not elaborate. Ortiz declined to comment on how many times Cordero was shot, saying police want to "keep close" that information.
Santa Fe Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Cordero's death, police said in a news release Friday.
Cordero's mother, Yvonne, said her son worked as a caregiver at MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care on Pacheco Street, only two miles away from the park where he appears to have been shot.
She said in an interview Wednesday her son was was a loving person and a constant, dependable presence in the lives of his five siblings.
"His siblings thought of him more like a father figure than a brother," Yvonne Cordero said. "He was a bit older than the others, and he helped me raise them."
As to why anyone would want to harm Cordero, his mother was at a loss.
"I don't know anybody that would want to do this to him," she said. "He would never even think of hurting anybody unless he was protecting somebody."
While police continue to investigate Cordero's death, another unsolved case involving a shooting in June continues to elude the department.
Juan Emmanuel Vasquez-Salas, 19, died June 6 after being shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Hopewell Street. Officers and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to save the man at the scene.
Ortiz said the department's only lead in Vasquez-Salas' death is the victim's cellphone, which was found in the Las Palomas Apartments parking lot.
Information from the cellphone's hard drive was sent for analysis to the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory a few weeks after the shooting, Ortiz said. Police have since gotten the data back and are analyzing the evidence.
"There are some things that we're looking at on the phone currently that are starting to kind of put things together for us as far as what happened," Ortiz said.
Ortiz declined to elaborate on what type of evidence police are looking at from the phone, citing the need to maintain the integrity of the case.