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Slain woman’s family, friends protest Sunday in hopes of getting answers, justice

Updated October 22, 2023 - 6:37 pm

For Regina Lacerda, the past six months have been a nightmare she can’t wake up from.

Lacerda’s daughter, Tabatha Tozzi, was fatally shot on April 22 — allegedly by Tozzi’s then-boyfriend, a man who then carjacked Tozzi’s friend, drove away and remains at large.

“He’s out on the run while my daughter is no longer here with us,” Lacerda said at a protest in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s headquarters on Sunday.

Lacerda was joined by several dozen people including Tozzi’s friends and relatives to demand justice, specifically that Tozzi’s alleged killer, Oswaldo Natanahel Perez-Sanchez, be found and arrested.

Protesters were demanding answers from Metro on how the case has been handled and what is happening with it. Protesters, including Lacerda, criticized the length of time between the shooting and when police announced on May 2 that Perez-Sanchez was a suspect.

“I don’t think that was handled right because (it) gave him time to just run away,” Lacerda said.

An email to Metro’s public information office seeking comment Sunday didn’t receive a response.

“We never wanted our friend to be on a poster; we never wanted our friend to not be here,” said Alicia Lozoya, 26. “She deserves to be here.”

Lozoya, a close friend of Tozzi’s, was at the scene in the 8100 block of Leger Drive, just west of South Cimarron Road and north of Alta Drive, when Tozzi was shot just before 11 a.m. Lozoya was in her car talking to her boyfriend on the phone. Tozzi and Perez-Sanchez were arguing, police said, in Tozzi’s car. Tozzi’s car was behind Lozoya’s car.

Lozoya said she didn’t hear the shots while she was talking to her boyfriend. Perez-Sanchez came over, cocked his gun, and carjacked her, she said. Lozoya then went over to Tozzi’s car to tell Tozzi that Perez-Sanchez, known as Nate, had just taken her car.

Lozoya said Sunday she got to Tozzi and saw blood, but she didn’t know Tozzi had been shot. Tozzi was gasping. Lozoya called 911. The dispatcher asked Lozoya to put pressure on the wound, but Lozoya couldn’t see one. She could tell that Tozzi could hear her, Lozoya said.

Tozzi, who was shot in the head, died two days later at University Medical Center.

“It’s been a hell of a roller coaster,” Lozoya said, her voice breaking and tears running down her face. “I have downward spirals. I have very bad days and good days where I can be strong.”

Two days after Tozzi died, an arrest warrant was issued for Perez-Sanchez on charges including open murder. In June, the FBI announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Perez-Sanchez has ties to Southern California and Mexico, the FBI said.

Family and friends have described Tozzi as a popular young woman with many friends who was known to many in the Las Vegas nightlife scene. They repeatedly described her Sunday as a person full of light.

“She was my life,” Lacerda said. “She was not only my daughter, she was my best friend.”

Sunday’s protest also included efforts by Tozzi’s family and friends to spread awareness about gun violence and femicide — or the gender-related killing of a girl or woman — particularly during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“It is important for me to be here to represent my friend and a beautiful person who didn’t deserve to lose her life,” said Kenya Sled, 28. “And for the purpose of raising awareness to the police that we would like them to be more active and involved in domestic violence cases, and specifically her case. And it is really important that we find Tabatha’s killer.”

There have been numerous killings of women by men known to them in the Las Vegas Valley in recent months.

They include, among others, the stabbing death of Dr. Gwendoline Amsrala, 28, allegedly by her husband, Shiva Gummi, in April, and the shooting death of Marillorky Tamayo Cruz, in August, allegedly by her estranged husband, Roidan Durruthy-Mendoza, after she had filed for divorce, citing a history of domestic violence, and had won custody of the couple’s daughters.

“Men make choices that impact women on a daily basis,” said another friend of Tozzi’s, Madeleine Howell.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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