The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday renewed rewards for information leading to arrests and convictions in a handful of homicides in which victims were shot, struck by hit-and-run motorists or disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended extending a $10,000 reward in the killing of 57-year-old Fred Taft, a Long Beach resident shot in the head and upper body about 4:25 p.m. July 21 while attending a family reunion at Pan American Park in the 5100 block of Centralia Street. Another $20,000 is being offered by the city of Long Beach.
Taft was shot in a restroom by an assailant described as a white man in his 50s, 6 feet tall and with a medium build. Witnesses said he 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 black, 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 was urged to contact Long Beach police homicide Detectives Michael Hubbard and Adrian Garcia at (562) 570-7244.
Hahn 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 was urged to call Long Beach police Detective Sirilo Garcia at (562) 570-7132.
Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended extending a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver who sped off after striking 36-year-old Dwayne Armenta as he was walking across the eastbound San Bernardino (10) Freeway, west of Kellogg Drive in Pomona, after running out of gas around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 23, 2016.
California Highway Patrol officers said shortly afterward that they believed at least two cars struck Armenta, the father of a teenage son and a 4-year-old daughter. The driver who hit the victim initially pulled over, but when a second motorist stopped to help, the first driver fled the scene. His family said Armenta had texted for help and waited about an hour before stepping out of his car to get gas.
Solis urged anyone with information that could help solve the case to call the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park office, (626) 338-1164.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger asked her colleagues to extend a $10,000 reward for information leading to the motorist who struck 21-year-old Rodney Tyrone Richard on Lancaster Boulevard near Elm Street about 2 a.m. on Aug. 4.
Richard was crossing the eastbound lane of Lancaster Boulevard from parking spaces located in the center median when he stopped and faced oncoming traffic before turning again and trying to run out of the roadway. He was hit by a full-size white GMC or Chevrolet truck with chrome side steps that was traveling east on Lancaster Boulevard in excess of the posted 15 mph speed limit. The driver fled without slowing or stopping.
Barger asked anyone with more information to call the sheriff’s Detective Ryan Bodily at (661) 940-3811.
Barger also recommended renewing a $10,000 reward in the case of 23-year-old Jose Juan Ahumada, a Palmdale man who went missing amid suspicious circumstances nearly nine months ago.
The last known sightof of Ahumada was about 7 p.m. March 5, when he was seen leaving his residence in the 37000 block of Tamara Place to drive to a nearby store in his black Toyota Scion. He never returned home, and his car was found 10 days later in North Hollywood.
Ahumada was described as having short brown hair, brown eyes and an “Ahumada” back tattoo. He was last seen wearing a black sweater, blue pants and black shoes.
Barger urged anyone with additional information to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.
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 any of the cases may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
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