LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Four people were behind bars today in connection with the gang-related killing of a 19-year-old mentally disabled man who was gunned down near a South Los Angeles car wash, apparently over his red shoes.
Tavin Price was fatally shot about 11 a.m. May 29 in the 3300 block of West Florence Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Investigators said one of the suspects questioned Price about his gang affiliation and red shoes, and another suspect shot him four times.
"We have tragedy often in our community, but there are very seldom times where we see just senseless tragedies like the one involved in this particular homicide investigation, where a young man is killed simply because of the color of his shoes," LAPD Deputy Chief William Scott said. "We thought those days were past us, but as we saw in this case, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of making our community safer."
Police identified the suspects in custody as:
-- Antheyst Jarrett, 27, who was arrested shortly after the killing and
booked on suspicion of witness intimidation and being an accessory after the
-- Dwight Smith, 30, who was arrested at his South Los Angeles home June
17 on suspicion of murder, with bail set at $2 million;
-- Kevin Johnson, 25, who was arrested Thursday in South Los Angeles on
suspicion of murder, also with bail set at $2 million; and
-- Kanasho Jones, 27, the alleged shooter, who was arrested this morning
in the Houston, Texas area. He was booked on suspicion of murder.
On the day he was killed, Price -- who was called "Tevin" by family and friends -- was at the car wash with his mother and a friend when he went into a nearby smoke shop, authorities said. Police said he ignored the question about his shoes and gang affiliation, left the shop and went back to toward the family's car, but another suspect ran from across a street and shot Price multiple times from behind.
"First of all, I want to thank God for answering my prayer for justice for my son," Price's mother, Jennifer Rivers, said. "Because ever since I buried Tevin on June the 13th, I have found myself being the gatekeeper there at the cemetery because of how you viciously murdered my child in my face."... I want to thank all of the police department, the FBI, Texas police department, everybody, even the people in the community that reached out and helped us catch these killers," she said. "I really appreciate everybody and I really want to thank everybody because this is so hard on me and my family. Because I go and sit at the cemetery every morning and everything I hear is just Tevin saying, `Mommy, am I gonna be all right? Mommy, I'm not going to die am I?'
"That's all that I hear every day. I've got to live with that for the rest of my life. That's torture. You robbed me of my baby. But I'm just so glad that God showed justice for my child. That's all I can say, and thank everybody for reaching out to me and my family. We are grateful to everyone. Thank you."
Scott said the LAPD was "committed to keeping our community safe and making sure that when these types of acts are committed, justice will prevail."
City Councilman Bernard Parks said he wanted the family to know that the city is behind them. "Anything that we can do, it certainly does not bring closure, because nothing brings closure when you lose a loved one; and no parent ever thinks for a moment that part of their job is to bury one of their children," Parks said.