Authorities on Friday announced a $35,000 reward for information about a shooting carried out on Father’s Day weekend that claimed the life of a longtime Carson resident.
Tauvaaga “Judy” Lauvai, 53, was killed in the shooting that happened on June 16 at about 9 p.m. in the 22700 block of Island Avenue in Carson, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Lauvai and family members were gathered on the front porch of a house celebrating an early Father’s Day, when an unknown suspect in a vehicle stopped in front of the family home and fired multiple gunshots at the group, officials said.
Lauvai suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the statement read. A male relative suffered a leg injury.
The beloved mother made Carson her home for more than 50 years before recently moving to Arizona for work.
“It was where she grew up, lived with her husband of 28 years and raised four children,” the news release read.
The family was back in town for the holiday weekend.
“What was supposed to be a joyful Father’s Day weekend trip for us, coming in from Arizona, tragically turned into a night of horror that fatal weekend,” Raymond Lauvai, Judy’s husband, said during a news conference on Friday afternoon.
As he wiped away tears, Raymond said he never imagined something like this would take away his wife.
“Never would I imagine losing my wife to this kind of senseless violence,” he said. “Never would I imagine trying to keep her alive through CPR, begging her to stay with me and reminding her that we needed to go back home in Arizona.”
L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the victim was devoted to her family, loved her church, was a bingo player and enjoyed her Samoan culture.
Family members said her eldest children recently got engaged, and she was excited to plan both weddings. Her youngest son was about to begin his senior year in college, and her granddaughter recently had her very first day of school.
“I don’t mean to sound cliché, but you know, she was more than a mother, she was more than a wife, a grandmother,” said Richmond Lauvai, the victim’s eldest son. “Everyone in that community knew the kind of woman she was, and for her to fall victim of this kind of violence it’s a shame.”
Her husband urged anyone with information about the deadly shooting to come forward.
“I hope that we can come together to bring closure to my granddaughter, kids and myself, and I pray that none of your loved ones become another statistic of senseless violence in our communities,” Raymond said.
Investigators believe this was a case of mistaken identity. The suspect’s vehicle was described as a light-colored, four-door sedan, possibly a silver Nissan Altima. There was no suspect description.
The reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the fatal shooting comes from two separate funds.
$10,000 was sponsored by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and approved by the Board of Supervisors, while $25,000 was sponsored by the city of Carson, according to the statement.
Anyone with information about this case was asked to contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous could call L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.