Girl, 15, in Amber Alert Is Killed in Shootout With California Authorities

0


On Tuesday morning, the authorities in San Bernardino County, Calif., were pursuing a man who they believed had fatally shot a woman and abducted his teenage daughter when finally his pickup truck came to a halt.

Bullets were flying. A figure wearing tactical gear and a helmet emerged from the truck and ran toward sheriff’s deputies, the authorities said. The figure fell.

Then they realized: This was the girl they had been trying to save. Now she and her father were dead.

Just the day before, the California Highway Patrol had released an Amber Alert, declaring the girl, Savanna Graziano, 15, to be missing. It described her as 5-foot-2, with brown hair and brown eyes, and her father, Anthony John Graziano, 45, as “armed and dangerous.”

In a news conference on Tuesday, the San Bernardino County sheriff, Shannon D. Dicus, said that details surrounding the chase and shootout, in which his deputies were involved, were still “preliminary.”

“This investigation is going to take at least 24 hours before we’re able to provide you with more information as to what happened and exactly what the circumstances are as it relates to the officer involved situation,” Sheriff Dicus said. But, he added, “at this time, both Anthony Graziano and Savanna are deceased.”

The sheriff’s office did not respond on Wednesday to requests for further comment regarding exactly how Savanna Graziano, or Mr. Graziano, were killed.

The complex pursuit and shootout spanned many miles through San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, the authorities said, and was set in motion early Monday morning, when shots were fired near an elementary school in Fontana, a city about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the Fontana Police Department said Monday on Facebook.

The police said that was where Mr. Graziano fatally shot a woman believed to be Savanna’s mother in a “domestic violence incident.”

Fontana police said that officers had arrived shortly after 7:30 a.m. to find the woman with “multiple gunshot wounds.” She was transported to a local trauma center, where she was pronounced dead, the police said.

Jason DeLair, a spokesman for the city of Fontana confirmed by phone on Wednesday that the woman killed was Savanna’s mother, Tracy Martinez, 45.

According to The Associated Press, the Fontana police said Savanna had been living with her father in the weeks before the shooting.

The police said that Mr. Graziano was driving a white 2017 Nissan Frontier with California plates that had a rack over the bed of the truck and a “distinct” animal sticker on the rear quarter panel.

At 10:25 a.m. Tuesday, Mr. Graziano’s truck was spotted near the intersection of Highway 395 and Highway 58, Sheriff Dicus said during the news conference. Sheriff’s deputies soon gave chase.

“As a result of that pursuit, the suspect immediately starts firing at our deputies,” Sheriff Dicus said, adding that Mr. Graziano had put “several rounds through the windshield of the patrol unit.” He said that the pursuit continued east along Highway 58, toward Interstate 15, with Mr. Graziano firing back at the deputies “the entire time.”

Sheriff Dicus said that Mr. Graziano had shot at and disabled a second police car, before going off the road in Hesperia, which is about 75 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The firefight continued, he said, and Mr. Graziano’s truck stopped.

It was at that point, Sheriff Dicus said, that a person wearing tactical gear, later determined to be Savanna, got out of the passenger side of the car and ran toward the sheriff’s deputies, at which point she fell to the ground. Mr. Graziano was also killed, but further details were unclear, Sheriff Dicus said.

“The only weapon that we’re able to confirm right now is a rifle taken from the suspect vehicle,” he said. The authorities, he added, were analyzing video footage from aircraft that had been tracking the scene.

Sheriff Dicus said that deputies had realized it was Savanna wearing the tactical gear when they attempted to provide her with medical assistance. She was taken to a nearby hospital, he said, and pronounced dead at 11:52 a.m.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: