Tavin Terrel Price was a 19-year-old African-American man. He stood just under 5 feet tall and weighed only 100 lbs, so he was often mistaken for someone several years younger. He was developmentally disabled, but he was excited about starting a new job at a warehouse in just a few days.
On Friday, May 29, Tavin and his mother, Jennifer Rivers, were on their way to the beach, but took a quick side trip to a South Los Angeles car wash. Tavin left his mom for a moment to buy some cigarettes. That’s when a man in a black sweat shirt approached him, accused him of being a gang member, and demanded he take off his shoes.
Tavin was wearing red running shoes. The color red is associated with the Bloods, a Los Angeles based street gang made up of primarily African-Americans. Members of that gang wear red clothing, such as shoes and hoodies. Rival gang members, such as the Crips (whose gang color is blue) might target someone wearing red with the assumption that they are a member of the rival gang.
Tavin told the man he was not in a gang and refused to take off his shoes. He then hurried back to his mother and told her about the episode.
As they rushed to get back into the car, the unknown man shot Tavin four times in the back and chest.
Tavin’s mother called 911 as she began chasing after the gunman. Unfortunately, he got away. Authorities are still searching for him.
Surveillance video and witness accounts will hopefully help detectives in this case. They are working on several leads, but so far no arrests have been made. If the gunman is a member of a rival gang, his own gang might take care of him first. Its against gang code to kill anyone, even a rival gang member, in the presence of their family members.
Tavin’s mother told reporters, “I wish he would have just shot me instead of my child. That’s cold for a mother to watch somebody just gun down her child in front of her face. That’s a hard, hard thing to deal with, believe me,” Rivers said, “I can’t even sleep at night since my son died.”
On Monday, Tavin would have been celebrating his 20th birthday and the first day on the job he was so looking forward to. Instead, a vigil was held at the car wash where he died. People sang “Happy Birthday” and released balloons in his memory.
Tavin didn’t deserve to be gunned down. He was murdered for his red shoes.