Family of man killed by FBI agent want answers, surveillance video confiscated by law enforcement
OAKLAND, Calif. - Family members of a man shot and killed by a federal law enforcement officer in East Oakland early this week say they want answers about what happened.
They say Michael Jonathan Cortez was a parolee, but that he did not deserve to have his life taken. Many questions remain about the circumstances surrounding his death.
Relatives and friends held a vigil for the 31-year-old, just outside a corner store on Fruitvale Avenue where he was shot and killed by an FBI agent, who was part of a task force serving an arrest warrant.
"This is somebody who was basically my twin," says his sister Marilyn Cortez with another sister, who declined to give her name, adding "He was a good person, always smiling, happy."
The FBI says an agent shot Cortez, shortly before 3:30 on Monday afternoon. Federal authorities say Cortez was armed and that he was taken to the hospital where he died.
The agent participating on the U.S. Marshal's task force was not injured.
"We just don't understand why this happened to him. We want answers. We want justice," says one of Cortez's sisters.
KTVU asked the FBI if the agent was specifically looking for Cortez and why, but a spokesman declined to say.
In a statement, the agency wrote in part, "The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously" and that "the review process is thorough, objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances."
"I just heard the shot. I heard the shot go boom," an 18-year-old man who declined to give his name, but identified himself as a friend of Cortez. He says he was outside the store when he saw one man rush inside with a gun drawn, followed by others.
He says he later learned that they were law enforcement.
"I didn't expect them to do nothing like that. I wouldn't expect none of that to happen," says the friend.
The owner of the corner store tells KTVU his son sold Cortez a beverage and beef jerky shortly before the shooting inside his business.
He says Cortez was a regular customer who stayed with his girlfriend in a unit above the store.
"I don't feel good about what happened. I think it's hurting," Discount Cigarettes store owner Faisal Aldahmi says his son was watching the surveillance camera when a man entered the store with a gun and that his son initially thought it was a robbery. because the FBI agent was in plainclothes.
"To see a human being get killed is not a good feeling," Aldami says law enforcement confiscated his surveillance camera equipment so he has not had a chance to see what was captured on video.
"I want the people, the officers involved to contact us immediately with answers," says Cortez's sister Marilyn.
The family says Cortez was on parole for a drug-related conviction and that he was currently working for a supermarket with hopes of starting a food-truck business.
He leaves behind three children.
There is a GoFundMe account to raise money for Cortez's burial.