A developmentally disabled man was gunned down in South Los Angeles over the color of his sneakers, his mother said Monday.
Jennifer Rivers gathered with loved ones Monday to celebrate the life of Tavin Price on what would have been her son's 20th birthday. They brought balloons and sang "Happy Birthday."
Price was slain outside a car wash Friday morning. Rivers said her son was wearing red tennis shoes when he went to a nearby store.
"Some guys, he said, told him to take off his tennis shoes. He told him he wasn't taking off his shoes, he wasn't a gangbanger. He came back to the car and told me. I immediately put the nozzle down and told him let's go because I didn't want no problems," Rivers recalled.
But before they could leave, a gunman rushed him.
"He ran up on my son and shot him in the back and then he shot him twice in the chest," Rivers said.
Los Angeles police said the shooter was an accomplice of the man who demanded Price's shoes.
The person, who was wearing a light-colored hoodie that was pulled up over his head, "approached the victim, shot him multiple times and then fled the location," said Det. Eric Crosson of the Criminal Gang Homicide Division.
Rivers now seeks justice for her son, whose dying words ring in her ears.
"He told me, 'Mommy, please. I don't want to die. Mommy, please,'" Rivers said. "Just took my son's life like that. I want that guy to be caught. Whoever it is, I want him to go to jail."
Police said they took a woman into custody in connection with the crime, but had not caught the gunman.
"How vicious can you be to just kill someone's son right in front of your face?" Rivers said.