Authorities offer $30,000 reward for tips as they search for Fred Taft’s killer

Authorities on Tuesday announced a $30,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension or conviction of the person responsible for killing a 57-year-old man in a Pan American Park bathroom.

Fred Taft, described as a loving family man, was shot to death in the bathroom while he was attending a family reunion at the park on July 21.

“We are all devastated and heartbroken and we need answers,” Taft’s daughter, Corie, said.

Corie Taft, daughter of Fred Taft, reads her statement as the Long Beach Police Department held a news conference to request the public’s help and announce the anticipation of a reward being issued in his killing at Pan American Park in Long Beach, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Corie Taft, daughter of Fred Taft, reads her statement as the Long Beach Police Department held a news conference to request the public’s help and announce the anticipation of a reward being issued in his killing at Pan American Park in Long Beach, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

Police have not identified a suspect, but they are looking for a white man in his 50s who witnesses say fled the scene with a silver gun.

Taft’s friends and family have called the slaying a hate crime, but police say they haven’t determined a motive yet.

“We are very aware of the family’s and the community’s concern that this murder may be the result of a hate crime,” Police Chief Robert Luna said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We are not ruling out any possibility from this case; every option is absolutely on the table.”

In addition to no known motive or suspect, Luna confirmed Tuesday that there were no cameras in the park the day of the shooting. Police urged anyone with photos or video at the park from that day to come forward if they think they have something that could lead to the shooter.

“We’re hoping that somebody who was out there has just a little piece of a puzzle that will help us put this person in jail and find out why he did this,” Luna said.

LPBD Chief Robert Luna speaks as the Long Beach Police Department held a news conference to request the public’s help and announce the anticipation of a reward being issued in his killing at Pan American Park in Long Beach, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

LPBD Chief Robert Luna speaks as the Long Beach Police Department held a news conference to request the public’s help and announce the anticipation of a reward being issued in his killing at Pan American Park in Long Beach, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Thomas R Cordova.

The reward was expected to total $20,000 with $10,000 each coming from the Long Beach City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. But on Tuesday night, the Long Beach City Council voted to kicked in $20,000, upping the total to $30,000.

Police have said they think there are more witnesses who haven’t yet come forward. Taft, they say, was shot in the middle of the day when there were many people at the park in Long Beach’s Lakewood Village neighborhood.

The LBPD’s reluctance to call the shooting a hate crime has frustrated the family, along with the the trickle of information that has been released since the killing.

“We have concerns with how my dad’s murder has been handled from the beginning, but we are all grateful for the support and the community’s support as well,” Corie Taft said. “… Please keep talking to each other about turning in the man who is responsible for killing my father.”

Anyone with information can contact Long Beach homicide detectives Michael Hubbard and Adrian Garcia at 562-570-7244 or provide an anonymous tip to Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with the new reward total after the city of Long Beach increased its contribution Tuesday night.

Fred Taft. File photo

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.
- ADVERTISEMENT -

More