"Mommy, I don't want to die" were the last words 19-year-old Tavin Price said after he was shot several times in front of his mother as she was cleaning her car Friday morning at the Express Car Wash on Florence Avenue near Crenshaw Boulevard.
One assailant had ordered him to take his "red Chucks off", referring to the red Chuck Taylor tennis shoes Tavin was wearing. But. Price, seriously injured in a car crash when he was three, was mentally disabled. The only way he knew to react was to run to his mother.
The pathetic attacker opened fire on Price, who was only 4-feet, 10-inches tall, barely 100 pounds. Price died a short time later.
Today, June 1st, would have been Tavin's 20th birthday. Instead of a decorating a birthday cake, Tavin's older sisters were solemnly setting up a memorial - a poster with several photographs, "Happy Birthday" balloons, and dozens of candles - to him on a telephone pole near where he died. (Because he always wanted his name spelled with an "e" rather than an "a", the sisters wrote his name as "Tevin" on the tribute.)
At 6 p.m. tonight, there will be a vigil for him.
Residents of the area said Tavin was well-known and liked, and enjoyed dressing "stylishly", often wearing his red shoes in the neighborhood which is considered the "turf" of the Rollin' 60s Crips, the infamous gang whose "color" is blue.
"My brother wasn't in a gang, he never hurt anybody, " said one of his sisters.
Even by brutal Los Angeles street gang standards, this killing has been widely condemned as one of the most cowardly acts ever committed under the now-ancient banner of "colors".
"Someone that small and you got to put heat on him?" said a man who grew up in the neighborhood. "You can't go toe-to-toe with a little guy like that? It's an embarrassment."
A few Rollin' 60s, who the LAPD say have 1,200 members, expressed their sympathies to the family.
"Some of the guys from 60s, they knew Tavin and they said this was a totally senseless killing," said another of his sisters, Runisha. "Tavin was stylish and walked around he neighborhood, but he wouldn't hurt a flea. Everyone around here knew that."
His older sister said "He almost never left his mama's shoulder. He never left her side."
The sister said Tavin had a summer job last year and had never seen him happier.
"He said 'I don't want to just sit on a couch. I want to get another job. I don't want to be written off as nothing."
As the family got ready for tonight's vigil, sister Runisha thought about the person who killed him.
"Whoever shot my brother if he was trying to get some brownie points for his gang, instead he lost his entire soul."
Funeral service for Tavin, ( who preferred the name "Tevin") will be held Saturday, June 13 at 1 p..m at Angelus Funeral Home at 3875 S. Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, Calif, 90008,\
If anyone would like to help the family with the burial costs, check this site - http://www.gofundme.com/w3u5ag
Anyone with information on the homicide can call Det. Eric Crosson of LAPD's Crinimal Gang Homicide Division at (323) 786-5100.
Tavin Price would have been 20 today, June 1st. Instead, his sisters put up a memorial near where he was killed