TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) --Police said a suspect was arrested in connection to the murder of a boxing gym owner in Tustin.
Authorities responded to a report of a shooting at OC Boxing & MMA Academy in the 14000 block of Newport Avenue at 12:12 p.m. Thursday and found 44-year-old Fahness Lutalo inside the business suffering from gunshot wounds.
Police said Kirk Vernell Price, 53, of Santa Ana, allegedly walked into the gym with a handgun, fired several times, hitting Lutalo, and then fled the scene.
Price turned himself in to Orange County sheriff's deputies around 1:05 a.m. Friday. He was arrested and booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder.
The suspect has an extensive criminal history, including robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and parole violations.
Lutalo's father spoke with Eyewitness News and said how important his son was to him.
"He was my absolutely my hero. My man. My boy," he said. "He left me too soon. I love you, but I wish you were here."
He added that he wished he had one more moment to spend with his son.
Lutalo, a father of three, was also the beloved owner of OC Boxing & MMA Academy.
"To think that somebody came in here midday planned with a gun to shoot him down, it broke my heart. We lost a family member," said Lutalo's friend, Kevin Smith.
His death was the first murder in Tustin in nearly seven months, police said.
The motive for the incident remains unknown, but gym members said Price was once Lutalo's student who eventually was banned from the gym for being aggressive and not listening.
Members planned to hold a workout at the gym Friday night in honor of their coach.
Police are still searching for the murder weapon Price allegedly used and his vehicle, which was described as a black 2013 Chevrolet Spark with tinted windows and license plate No. 7BMS565.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Lutalo's family and funeral. You can donate here: www.gofundme.com/vfvxhhrg.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Detective Lomeli with the Tustin Police Department at (714) 573-3250.