| A file picture of Yetunde Price with sister Serena
Los Angeles: About two dozen friends and supporters of the family of Serena and Venus Williams attended a vigil for the slain Yetunde Price — eldest sister of the tennis stars.
The vigil took place just hours after police arrested their first suspect in the shooting death of 31-year-old on Monday.
It was also held in the same poverty-stricken and crime- plagued neighbourhood where Yetunde was gunned down early Sunday and where she grew up with her famous sisters.
There were prayers and calls for tougher gun-control laws at the vigil, which was organised by the community group to stop the violence.
Aaron Michael Hammer, 24, was being held without bail after his arrest on Sunday, police spokesman Scott Butler said. “A weapon was recovered at the scene,” said Butler.
But Dave Nelson, Hammer’s uncle, said on local television that Hammer was innocent.
“My nephew didn’t do it,” he said. “Please don’t let an innocent person go to jail for this.
“I think he’s being set up,” he said, adding that a “drunk kid” was responsible.
Butler said on Monday they were looking for up to three more suspects.
Police also arrested the man who was with Yetunde in a white Sports Utility Vehicle at the time, 28-year-old Rolland Wormley, for allegedly violating parole.
“Whatever his involvement was in this incident (it) was enough to violate the terms and conditions of his parole,” sheriff deputy Bill Spear said.
“I was real surprised that something like that would happen to her,” Randy Brown, who had bought a house from Yetunde, told local television station CBS2.
“I don’t know why somebody would want to do something like that. She was a real nice lady, just a business type of person, just always on the go, working.”
After the shooting, deputies searched the immediate area, including a house, but it was unclear what led them to Hammer.
Oracene Price, Venus and Serena were among the family members making their way to Los Angeles in the wake of the shooting. Yetunde lived in Corona, California. Yetunde was a divorced mother of three: Jair (5), Justus (9) and Jeffrey (11).
A registered nurse who cared for private patients in their homes, Yetunde also acted as personal assistant for her famous younger sisters and was often seen courtside supporting them at tournaments.
In addition to her nursing, Yetunde had recently opened a beauty salon with a high school friend.
“What’s going to happen to the kids' That’s all I can think of,” Gladys Avila, whose daughter owned the headed your way salon with Yetunde said.