Long Beach police ask for help in IDing at-large gunman in 2018 murder of Fred Taft

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Friday, October 20, 2023 9:40PM

Long Beach police ask for help in IDing at-large gunman in 2018 murder

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — Long Beach police released new details Thursday about the 2018 killing of a man at a public park, and investigators asked for the public’s help in identifying the at-large gunman.

The victim, 57-year-old Frederick Taft, was shot and killed in a restroom at Pan American Park in 2018. The park is located between Arbor Road and Centralia Street, a few blocks west of Bellflower Boulevard.

At a news conference on Thursday, members of Taft’s family sat in the front row as police announced new information about the suspect and the vehicle involved in the murder.

“We hope to get some closure,” said Cheryl Malonson, Taft’s sister. “It’s been almost six years. The family is still devastated by this.”

Long Beach Police Chief Wally Hebeish said detectives “have identified a potential lead — which is that the suspect used a blue minivan to flee the scene.”

Investigators also revealed that they now believe that the shooter was a man in his 20s. A detailed description of the suspect was not available.

The killing occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. on July 21, 2018. In the aftermath of the shooting, detectives initially said the killer fled on foot. A composite sketch of the suspect was released by authorities at the time.

“Now they have given us a little bit more information to go on,” Malonson said Thursday. “I guess we’ll be wracking our brains to try to remember as to whether or not we saw this individual there at the park.”

Malonson said she loved her brother and still loves him.

“I mean, I have his pictures and I talk to him every day,” she said. “I just … I can’t forget my brother. He was everything to me.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Long Beach Police Department at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted through L.A. Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-8477.

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