Mother of teen shot in South LA over shoes gives emotional testimony in court

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The mother of a special needs teen, who was killed in South Los Angeles allegedly over the color of his shoes, gave an emotional testimony in court in the trial of her son's accused killers.

Jennifer Rivers witnessed the killing of her son Tavin Price, 19, who was gunned down at a car wash on West Florence Avenue last May.

During opening statements Monday morning, prosecutors said Price was targeted by gang members because of what he was wearing.

A courtroom sketch was presented in court, showing a surveillance image taken just minutes before Price was shot. Price is seen wearing a red T-shirt and red shoes.

MORE: 19-year-old shot at South LA car wash for wearing red shoes

Rivers was the first to testify - she witnessed the murder.

"For them to viciously murder my child like that over some red Chuck Taylors, and the shooter that shot my son, I chased him, he had on some red Nikes with red shoe strings in them. How dare them think they could take someone's life like that?" Rivers said to Eyewitness News outside court.

The two defendants on trial are Kevin Deon Johnson and Kanasho Johns. Deputy District Attorney Bobby Zoumberakis say the two are neighborhood Crips members. Johnson is known on the street as "Bang," and Johns is known on the street as "Bone." The prosecution alleges that "Bone" was the shooter.

Rivers says her son, who had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, was never affiliated with a gang in his life.

MORE: Funeral services held for teen fatally shot in South LA over shoes

"Stay close to your kid. Watch your kids, because I tried to protect mine from people like that, and they still murdered him in my face," she said.

More than a year after her son's murder, she's just hoping for justice.

"I never get to talk to my son again - that's very, very unfair. Who gave them the right to take my child's life?" Rivers said.

A third defendant in this case, Dwight Kevin Smith, may eventually testify at a later time. He pleaded guilty just over a month ago.

The prosecution says he was the first alleged gang member to confront Price and ask him about his gang affiliation and his red shoes. The group dispersed, and Price was shot roughly 10 minutes later.
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