LBPD releases new info about man killed in Long Beach park restroom

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The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) has released new information regarding the shooting death of a man in a Long Beach park restroom on the afternoon of Saturday, July 21.
At 4:26pm that day, officers were dispatched to the shooting, in the 5100 block of E. Centralia Street, where they located a male adult victim who had been shot by a male adult suspect, police said. Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded and determined the victim was deceased at the scene.
The preliminary investigation indicated the victim, Fred Taft, was in a restroom in Pan American Park when the suspect shot him in the upper torso. After the shooting, the suspect fled the park on foot.
Shortly after the incident, police indicated that a motive for the shooting was unknown. However, on Aug. 2, the LBPD released additional information about the suspect, whom they say is a white male in his 50s.
“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 28 to address their questions and concerns regarding the murder and the safety of the neighborhood,” states an Aug. 2 press release from the LBPD. “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.”
Police said detectives are in regular communication with Taft’s family to exchange information regarding the case.
“The department has received several inquiries asking if this murder is a hate crime,” the press release states. “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.”
The LBPD is asking that anyone with information regarding the case contact Homicide Detectives M. Hubbard and A. Garcia directly at (562) 570-7244.

Source: LBPD