Family Believes Grandfather Shot and Killed in Long Beach, Calif., Park is a Hate Crime Victim

Frederick Taft
Frederick Taft
Screenshot: ABC7

Frederick Taft, 57, was enjoying a day out at a family reunion in a Long Beach, Calif., park over the weekend when he was shot and killed inside the restroom.

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Relatives believe that Taft, a doting grandfather, was targeted solely because of his race, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The fatal shooting occurred at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Pan American Park. where between 40 and 50 people, most of whom were black, had gathered for the family reunion.

Sakeena Christmon, a friend of Taft’s who was at the reunion party, said that she saw a man carrying a rifle run out of the bathroom after the shooting. She described the man as wearing khaki shorts, calf-high socks and a fishing hat.

As Taft was alone in the bathroom at the time of the shooting, Christmon believes that the killing was motivated by race, and preplanned.

“He came here on a mission to kill,” she insisted of the killer.

“It wasn’t a robbery. They didn’t take his wallet. So what else was it?” Mareatha Moore, the mother of Taft’s daughter, questioned.

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Taft’s daughter, Corie, said that hours after the shooting, a softball player came from a nearby game to tell Taft’s relatives that his group had been harassed by a group of white men on bicycles who were hurling racial slurs. Shortly after that, a man pulled up in a white Prius, laughing and yelling something about a “187 in the park” (slang referencing section 187 of the California Penal Code which defines the crime of murder) before speeding off.

According to ABC7, there was also a racial slur carved into a nearby park bench where the family had gathered.

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Long Beach police spokesperson Arantxa Chavarria, however, said that investigators had not “uncovered any evidence of a hate crime.”

“Evidence is still being collected and analyzed,” she told the Times.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

DISCUSSION

rurnbubber
disco_tango_whiskey

Surprised/Not Surprised. Long Beach is a weird city - I should know I grew up there. On one hand its a big melting pot where Cambodian boys grow up talking like black boys and the black boys play in punk in bands

AT THE SAME TIME, I grew up with with white kids saying the most out-of-pocket shit to me in jr high and high school. Which was weird because these were the same white kids who were totally obsessed, OBSESSED with Tupac, NWA, Dre, Snoop, etc.

I remember seeing the garages of the grandparents of the white kids I would hang out with and remember seeing a Nazi flag or two - or just straight up waiting in line behind a guy with a full on Nazi eagle tattooed on his neck - or buying gum from a liquor store and noticing the guy behind the counter having full on grand wizard tattoos on his forearms.

Weird fucking city.