- The Long Beach Police Department would like to provide an update regarding the ongoing criminal investigation into the murder of Fred Taft on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Pan American Park in Long Beach.
- The suspect has been identified as a male White adult in his 50’s.
- Investigations Deputy Chief Richard Conant and East Division Commander Erik Herzog met with the Ministers Alliance on Thursday, July 26th regarding unsubstantiated claims made by outside sources that the murder was racially motivated. The motive of the murder remains under investigation.
- Additionally, Patrol Deputy Chief Wally Hebeish and Commander Herzog attended a Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association meeting on Saturday, July 28th to address their questions and concerns regarding the murder and the safety of the neighborhood.
- Patrol officers continue to closely monitor the park and surrounding area for any unusual or criminal activity, and additional patrol resources have been deployed to assist with these efforts.
- Detectives and patrol officers canvassed the area surrounding the park immediately after the shooting, and throughout the investigation, to search for witnesses and/or video that may relate to this case.
- Detectives are in regular communication with Mr. Taft’s family where information is being exchanged regarding this case.
- The Department has received several inquiries asking if this murder is a hate crime. The motive for this crime has not yet been determined and is still under investigation. The Police Department will not classify a criminal act as a hate crime unless there is evidence present that meets this legal standard.
- We are respectful of the elevated community concerns after such a violent incident. Should there be a development in the investigation that warrants a public safety notification, the Police Department will issue the information via a media release and social media outlets, with the understanding that the successful prosecution of the suspect responsible for this crime is a top priority for the Police Department.
- We ask that anyone with information regarding this case contact Homicide Detectives M. Hubbard and A. Garcia directly at (562) 570-7244.
ORIGINAL NEWS RELEASE ISSUED 7/21/18:
On Saturday, July 21, 2018, at 4:26 p.m., officers were dispatched to a shooting that had just occurred at a park in the 5100 block of E. Centralia Street.
When officers arrived, they located a male adult victim who had been shot by a male adult suspect. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and determined the victim was deceased at the scene.
The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was in the park restroom when a male adult suspect shot the victim in the upper torso. After the shooting, the suspect fled the park on foot. The motive for the shooting is unknown and the investigation is ongoing.
The identity of the victim is unknown at this time and will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
Anyone who witnessed or has information regarding this incident is urged to call Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives M. Hubbard and A. Garcia at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the “P3 Tips” app to your smart phone (available at the Apple App Store and Google Play), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.