Suspect in killing of MMA gym owner dies after fight with fellow inmate, officials say

An inmate at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange died Saturday from injuries he suffered during a fight with another inmate last month, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced.

Kirk Vernell Price, 57, had been hospitalized since Dec. 27, 2019, and died about 4 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Kirk Vernell Price, shown after his arrest in 2016.
(Tustin Police Department)

Price had been jailed since March 2016, when he was accused of shooting and killing Fahness Lutalo, a boxing and mixed martial arts trainer, inside the gym Lutalo owned in Tustin.

He had pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and was in the midst of a jury trial, court records state.


Additional information about the fight that resulted in Price’s death wasn’t immediately available. Authorities did not name the other inmate who was allegedly involved.

The death is being investigated by the Orange County district attorney’s office and also will be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Department.