Special Needs Teen Shot And Killed In Front Of Mother Over Shoe Color
A developmentally disabled teen was shot and killed in front of his mother, all because he was wearing the wrong color on his shoes.
Tavin Price was with his mother, Jennifer Rivers, at a car wash in Florence Avenue and 11th Avenue on Friday morning when he was shot in front of her around 11 a.m. Just before the shooting, Price walked into a nearby store where he was approached by somebody who asked him to take off his red tennis shoes, assuming his colors were gang-affiliated. He walked back to his mother, who was vacuuming her car at the car wash, and told her about the encounter. "I Immediately put the nozzle down and told him, 'Let's go,' because I didn't want no problems," Rivers told NBC 4. Before they were able to leave, Price was shot by a gunman, who also told him to take his shoes off, at point blank range.
"How vicious can you be to kill someone's son right in front of [their] face," said Rivers.
According to KTLA Rivers chased after the shooter, but he was able to get away. Unable to chase him down, she returned to Price, whose dying words were, "Mommy, I don't want to die. I do not want to die, mommy. Help me."
Family and friends say the 19-year old Price was not a gang member, and was a teenager with special needs. He stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds.
"At this point it looks like it was gang-motivated, but the victim was not a gang member, never has been a gang member," LAPD Detective Eric Grosson told CBS 2. Price had no criminal record, according to police.
On Monday, family and friends gathered at the car wash where the shooting took place to hold a vigil in his memory. They sang happy birthday for Price, who was days away from turning 20. Naturally, they hope the gunman is found and brought to justice. "I want to see them spend the rest of their life in jail and feel how our family feels right about now," said his cousin Ceritha Daily.
A GoFundMe was created by Rivers to cover her son's funeral expenses.
There is surveillance video that captured the shooting, but no arrests have been made in the case. Police are asking any witnesses to come forward—anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.