Long Beach police are still looking for whoever shot a grandfather to death during a family reunion this summer, and on Wednesday they released a composite sketch of the gunman hoping to gather new leads.
The sketch shows a man wearing a brimmed hat. Witnesses told police he was white and in his 50s, about 6 feet tall with a medium build.
Investigators think he might have been wearing a dark shirt and light shorts on the afternoon of July 21 when he went into a bathroom at Pan American Park and shot 57-year-old Fred Taft nine times.
Some of Taft’s family, who were gathered at the park for the reunion, said they saw the gunman jogging away after the shooting.
Despite pleas from relatives and police, nobody has come forward with any information identifying the gunman.
The shooting left Taft’s family mystified. His wallet and phone were found with his body, leading them to suspect the killing was racially motivated. The gunman was white, they said, and they also found racist graffiti in the park.
“What I want to understand is: Why? Why him? What’s his reason for killing somebody that day that didn’t bother him?” Taft’s niece, Allison Flanigan recently told the Post.
Police, however, say they so far have no evidence pointing to any motive whatsoever.
Earlier this month, police said they still hadn’t found any new witnesses despite city and county leaders announcing a $30,000 reward.
That reward is still up for grabs.
Police urged anyone who recognizes the man in the sketch to contact detectives Michael Hubbard and Adrian Garcia at 562-570-7244. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.
Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.
Free news isn’t cheap.
We believe that everyone should have access to important local news, for free.
However, it costs money to keep a local news organization like this one—independently owned and operated here in Long Beach, without the backing of any national corporation—alive.
If independent local news is important to you, please consider supporting us with a monthly or one-time contribution. Read more.