LA county renews rewards for information in two Long Beach homicides

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today renewed rewards for information leading to arrests and convictions in two Long Beach homicides in which victims were shot or struck by hit-and-run motorists.

Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended extending a $10,000 reward in the killing of 57-year-old Fred Taft, a Long Beach resident who was shot in the head and upper body at about 4:25 p.m. July 21 while attending a family reunion at Pan American Park in Lakewood Village.

Another $20,000 is being offered by the city of Long Beach.

Fred Taft. File photo

Taft was shot in a restroom by an assailant described as a white man in his 50s, 6-feet tall, with a medium build. Witnesses said the suspect was wearing a dark shirt, light shorts and a hat.

Police said a motive for the crime was unknown, but relatives of Taft, who was African-American, believe the killing was a hate crime. Taft’s daughter previously said that a person who had been playing softball nearby said his group had been harassed in the park hours before the shooting by a group of white men on bikes who were using racial slurs.

A friend of Taft’s who was at the party said she saw a man carrying a rifle run out of the bathroom toward Centralia Avenue after the shooting.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Long Beach police homicide Detectives Michael Hubbard and Adrian Garcia at (562) 570-7244.

Hahn also recommended renewing a $25,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of a 24-year-old bicyclist, whose body was found around 3 a.m. March 3 by Long Beach police officers.

San Pedro resident Cole Micek was riding his bike on the Terminal Island (74) Freeway at Pier A Way when he was struck by two vehicles whose drivers failed to call 911 and fled before police arrived.

Investigators released images of a late-model white Toyota Camry and a 1990s-era Honda Accord with a sunroof and dark hood, which they believe may have been involved in the collision.

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run drivers is urged to call Long Beach police Detective Sirilo Garcia at (562) 570-7132.

Each of the rewards had been set to expire soon, but will now be available for at least the next 90 days.

People with information on either of the cases may also call CrimeStoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

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