Two Long Beach residents were arrested Thursday in connection with the slaying of a Southern California musician who had worked with the bands Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, authorities said.
Thomas Arellaga, 43, was booked Thursday on suspicion of killing 45-year-old Tasi Malaki, better known as Toko Tasi, according to a news release issued by the Long Beach Police Department. Lorna Clemena, a 43-year-old Long Beach resident, was also arrested and accused of helping Arellaga evade capture, authorities said.
Both suspects were arrested without incident at a home in the 19100 block of East Mono Drive in Hesperia around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a Long Beach police spokeswoman .
Malaki, 45, was shot around 11:40 p.m. on Aug. 11 following a dispute near West Willow Street and Eucalyptus Avenue. He died at the scene.
Malaki had released two albums since 2007 and collaborated with several famed ska, punk and reggae acts, including Sublime and Slightly Stoopid. His debut featured previously unreleased vocals from Bradley Nowell — the singer of celebrated Long Beach-born ska act Sublime who died in 1996 — on a track called “Love To Share.”
Malaki also had appeared on the song “Shoobie” with San Diego-based Slightly Stoopid in the mid-2000s. His most recent album, “Rise Ta Shine,” was released in 2017.
Arellaga and Clemena were dating, according to a Long Beach police spokeswoman, who would not comment on the nature of the dispute that led to the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. Public records show the two suspects live together at a home in Long Beach where detectives carried out a search warrant Thursday.
A case is expected to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office next week. Arellaga had previously pleaded no contest to a DUI offense in Long Beach in 2012, records show.
Jake Lodish, a longtime friend of Malaki, described the victim as a talented snowboarder who would often freestyle rap over other friends playing guitar on road trips. Lodish described him as fearless, whether he was on a board or in his neighborhood.
“He wasn’t happy unless he, like, broke his snowboard and got a couple stitches,” Lodish said of Malaki’s days on a snowboard. “That was a good day.”
Lodish, 49, said Malaki had faced a rough upbringing and served jail time. But Malaki had been sober for at least three years and was more focused on music, which had always been his lifelong passion.
“It’s a shame that a guy like that, that’s how he goes out,” Lodish said.