Two suspects were arrested Thursday, Aug. 15, in Hesperia in connection with the shooting death of a beloved reggae artist in the Wrigley neighborhood of Long Beach late Saturday night, authorities said.
Thomas Arellaga, 43, of Long Beach was believed to be the triggerman who killed 45-year-old Tasa Malaki, also known as Toko Tasi, after the two were in an argument about 11:40 p.m. that night, police said.
Also arrested was 43-year-old Lorna Clemena of Long Beach on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact. Detectives believe she was helping Arellaga avoid arrest after the shooting by concealing evidence, police said.
They were arrested at a home in the 19100 block of East Mono Drive in Hesperia about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, police said.
Arellaga was suspected of shooting Malaki in the area of Willow Street and Eucalyptus Avenue, Aug. 10. Malaki had been at a gathering with friends of an old skateboarding crew at a bar when the argument started, which led to the gunfire, Tito Rodriguez, a childhood friend, said.
Officers found Malaki on the sidewalk in the 400 block of West Willow Street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his upper torso, police said.
Police and paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but Malaki died at the scene sometime after midnight, Aug. 11, according to a coroner’s report.
During their investigation, detectives located evidence while serving a search warrant in the 2400 block of San Francisco Avenue. Both suspects live at the location, according to the Department’s arrest log.
Arellaga was booked into jail on $2 million bail and Clemena was booked on $1 million bail, police said.
Malaki was a reggae singer and songwriter who worked with popular bands Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, according to his website.
He had a teenage daughter, Rodriguez said, and was in the process of fixing up a car for her to drive when she was old enough.
Residents and fans had made a memorial of candles, photos and trinkets for Malaki on the sidewalk where he died and more than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil for Malaki on Aug. 12.
Police plan to present their case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office early next week.
Arrests made in shooting death of California reggae artist Toko Tasi