Long Beach sees 9 killings in span of two months following last year’s record low

A spate of deadly shootings and stabbings over the last two months may have knocked Long Beach off the track toward having another record low number of killings this year.

Since the beginning of June, nine people were slain in Long Beach, more than the rest of the year combined, according to statistics from police.

Mourners remember Fred Taft at a vigil on July 23, 2018. Taft, 57, was fatally shot at a family reunion in Long Beach two days earlier. Photo by Asia Morris.

Until the beginning of June, there had been only six criminal homicides in Long Beach this year. That was even fewer than there were at the same time last year when police recorded only 22 homicides for the whole year, the lowest number on record, according to authorities.

But the recent spate of violence has knocked Long Beach off that pace. So far this year, there have been 15 criminal homicides compared to 13 at the end of July last year. There were only two killings recorded in June and July last year, according to crime stats from the LBPD.

Police declined to set up an interview with homicide investigators about what could be causing the recent cluster of killings.

“They’re all open investigations,” department spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said, adding that it would be premature to offer any theories.

“It would all be speculation,” she said.

Police have announced arrests in three of the nine recent murders, but most of the cases remain unsolved.

Overall, Long Beach’s homicide rate has plummeted in the decades since the 1990s and 80s when the city sometimes saw more than 100 killings per year.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.