California dad, 30, is shot and killed in front of his seven-year-old son as they sat in their car in 'heinous crime' on Father's Day
- The father of a seven-year old boy was killed next to his son on Father's Day
- The gunfire missed the boy, but he suffered minor non-life-threatening injuries
- Officers returned him to his mother's care and referred him to emotional support
A California dad was shot and killed in front of his seven-year-old son as they sat in their car on Father's Day, it has emerged.
Leevi Matuni Maseuli, 30, of Palmdale, had taken his son to lunch at Taco Surf in Seal Beach before spending their final moments together at a dinosaur-themed playground at Recreation Park.
Officers arrived to the 4200 block of Anaheim Street and Roswell Avenue to find a crashed car with Leevi still alive with a gunshot wound to his upper body, along with his son.
They performed aid on the father until the Long Beach Fire Department arrived and transported his to a local hospital where he later died.
The gunfire missed the boy, but he suffered minor non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment before being referred to emotional support services.
Leevi Matuni Maseuli, pictured, was murdered on the 4200 block of Anaheim Street in Long Beach while sat next to his seven-year-old son in the car
Leevi was a Long Beach native, growing up on Lime Avenue near Poly High School as the son of a Samoa trucking rig driver
Officers arrived to the 4200 block of Anaheim Street and Roswell Avenue to find a crashed car with inside Leevi with a gunshot wound to the upper body along with his son
'It doesn’t feel real. My brother was murdered in front of his 7-year-old son,' his sister Shalia Maseuli told the Long Beach Post. 'We want answers. We want to know who did this to my brother and why.'
The killing happened on Sunday, June 19th at approximately 8:46 pm.
Authorities returned the boy to his mother soon after the shooting, reported the LA Times.
Shalia launched a GoFundMe to raise money for Leevi's funeral expenses as well as provide a cash reward for information that leads to the shooter's arrest and prosecution.
'He leaves behind two children, Leevi Jr "LJ" age 7 and Kalia age 1,' wrote Shalia in the GoFundMe, who described the man as 'an amazing, kind-hearted, loving person.'
'He was a son, brother, father, and uncle. He is so very loved and will be forever missed,' Shalia added.
After only two days, the family has raised $9,505 - almost hitting the total needed to cover the funeral expenses that Leevi's mum, Renee Maseuli, is organizing.
A link to the family's GoFundMe can be found here.
'To commit such a heinous crime in any circumstance is unacceptable, but to do so on Father's Day in front of the victim's child is even more disgraceful,' said Police Chief Wally Hebeish.
'This blatant disregard for our community will not go unanswered and our investigators are working diligently to identify anyone involved in the victim's death,' said Police Chief Wally Hebeish.
'No child should ever have to endure an experience like this and I am asking the public to please speak up with any information, no matter how small, that could help us find those responsible for this callous act of violence.'
Leevi's sister Shalia Maseuli described him as 'an amazing, kind-hearted, loving person'
Leevi was a Long Beach native, growing up on Lime Avenue near Poly High School as the son of a Samoan trucking rig driver.
One of his best friends was killed in a gang shooting when he was only 14, court documents show.
Leevi’s past includes several criminal convictions and stretches in prison, although police have not yet determined a motive for the shooting.
Police arrested an 18-year-old Leevi and a co-conspirator on suspicion of burglary, with both pleading no contest to the charges and landing in a state prison for a two-year stint.
He was again arrested for possession of a firearm and ammunition in 2012, landing him in prison for another two years.
According to the LBPD, Leevi was known in the streets by the monikers 'Weezy' and 'Lil Beast' - identifying him as an alleged gang member.
One of Leevi's best friends was killed in a gang shooting when he was only 14. He went to prison on three separate occasions, and was identified by LBPD as a gang member
On May 21, the LBPD arrested him on suspicion of human trafficking after a woman claimed Leevi had badly beaten her and forced her to have sex for money.
City Prosecutor Doug Haubert called him 'one of the more dangerous gang members responsible for this brutal crime.'
Charges against Leevi of human trafficking for purposes of pimping and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury were dismissed, but he was convicted of pandering and assault with a deadly weapon.
'Leevi may have had a past, but that’s not the person I know,' said Shalia. 'It’s not the amazing man we all know him as.'
He got out of prison in 2021 and began working for a consulting firm called Smoove Enterprises, fixing up properties and renting them out - spending most of his time with his one-year-old daughter before he was killed.
Community members built a small memorial in the area following the shooting, including flowers, candles, beer and sports team hats.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact Homicide Detectives Michael Hubbard and Jesus Espinoza at (562) 570-7244.
Anonymous tips may be submitted through 'LA Crime Stoppers' by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477).