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Mother of deceased cadet speaks out after Daytona Beach Police Department reopens case

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(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — Alexander Bello-Ortiz’s mother spoke out Monday about the death of her son after the Daytona Beach Police Department reopened the case last year.


“Alex was not only my only son and child … he was my world. He was my everything,” said Maria Lourdes Ortiz, at a press conference joined by her attorneys.

In September 2020, the 22-year-old cadet and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student, suffered a gunshot wound. Police ruled the death a suicide, according to WFTV.

The family filed an amended federal lawsuit this month in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, claiming Bello-Ortiz was killed and that the killing was made to look self-inflicted.

Daytona Beach police told ABC News the case was reopened “last year when we were advised of new evidence.”

“At this time, it is considered an active death investigation,” Carrie McCallister, the department’s public information officer said.

Mark Pucci, the CEO and founder of the National Institute for Law and Justice told the press that the evidence is what “we’ve been attempting to bring since I’d say December or January of 21.”

During a 911 call made about the incident, which was obtained by ABC News, a roommate of Bello-Ortiz told the dispatcher that Bello-Ortiz “collapsed” and was bleeding.

Bello-Ortiz was found in his bedroom with a severe head injury, according to a police report about the incident.

The police report also noted that a rifle was found beside Bello-Ortiz.

His roommate, who is named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit, did not mention a rifle during the 911 call. One of the roommates later told police that Bello-Ortiz said it was disassembled the last time they saw him, according to the body camera footage.

When reflecting on finding Bello-Ortiz, body camera footage showed one of Bello-Ortiz’s roommate’s telling police “I had thought it was just like a BB gun or something. It was laying, I mean, almost perfectly next to him.” The roommate also mentioned shoving it out of the way, but not too much.

At the press conference, Lourdes Ortiz remembered her son as “filled with love for his neighbors and … a bundle of contagious joy — a true Eagle Scout with honor and integrity, and a light for many, many people.”

John Phillips, Lourdes Ortiz’s attorney, said “a mother deserves answers. Any parent deserves answers about what happened to their son who’s no longer with us.”

“Alex’s dreams, respect and love for life fueled his ambition to make a difference and a better world for everybody, but especially for his community, but now my family has been robbed of seeing his dreams come true,” Lourdes Ortiz said.

The defendants didn’t immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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