Special needs teen Tevin Terrell Price was shot multiple times in front of his mother at a car wash in South Los Angeles on Friday, May 29, 2015 because he refused to give up his pair of red shoes.
Many people gathered at the car wash Monday morning to remember Price. People brought balloons, flowers, signs, and some wore shirts saying “Rest in Paradise Tavin Price.”
It began when Price, who went to the car wash with his mother, left to go to a nearby market to buy cigarettes. While he was there, someone went up to him and asked about the color of his clothes.
“He was confronted by someone who inquired about his possible gang affiliation because of some red clothing he was wearing,” Detective Eric Crosson of the Los Angeles Police Department said. “He denied being a gang member and went back to where his mother was.”
Jennifer Rivers, his mother, said Price was then confronted again at the car wash by someone who told him to take his shoes off.
“He didn’t take them off, he ran to me, and then I said ‘Let’s go’,” she told KTLA. “And I was getting in the car. Before we can get in the car, the boy ran behind my car and shot him in the back twice and in the chest.”
He was rushed to the hospital where he died during surgery.
Freshman Nick Payero said, “It is just bad luck how he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was minding his own business and is killed because of the color of his clothing. It’s very sad.”
Rivers then ran after the gunman. She said, “I just kept saying, ‘Stop. Why did you shoot my son’.”
When she ran back to the car, she kept hearing her youngest son telling her he did not want to die.
“Watching my son beg me, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die, mommy. Help me’,” Rivers recalled, her voice choking up. “That’s hard for me.”
Both police and family members said Price was not a part of any gangs. Crosson said it appeared Price was “victimized” because he “wore the color in the wrong neighborhood.”
Price was described as a fun and loving man who “loved his family more than anything,” said his cousin, Ceritha Daily.
He was killed days before his 20th birthday. At one point, everyone at the vigil sang “Happy Birthday.”
Freshman Amanda Laezza said, “It’s so upsetting to see anyone lose their lives right before their most special day of the year. It’s heartbreaking.”
His family hopes that Price’s shooter will be arrested and brought to justice.
“I want to see them spend the rest of their life in prison and feel how our family feels right about now,” Daily said.
The gunman was caught on surveillance camera in the area, but the video has not been released. Anyone with information about the shooting can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.