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Murder charges filed after pursuit kills girl

June 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Murder charges have been filed against two men in connection with an LAPD police pursuit that ended with the death of a Lake View Terrace girl.Aaron Esqueda Rojas, a 32-year-old of Panorama City, and Juanquin Hiriarte, a 24-year-old, were each charged with one count of murder. They were also charged with evading an officer causing death, being a felon with a concealed firearm in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm with a prior conviction.

Authorities said Rojas was driving the car when it struck Kayla Woods, 6, as she was playing with friends on June 10 near her home. She was pinned between the car and a wall.

Officers chased Rojas' car after reportedly seeing a drug deal near Foothill and Van Nuys boulevards. After the crash, police dogs tracked Rojas, who ran from the scene and hid in a trash can.

It is unknown if charges will be filed against a third suspect who was arrested following the pursuit.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the horrific accident was the fault of Rojas, who drove the car. Beck said it appears from a preliminary account of the incident officers followed the department's policies and procedures for initiating a pursuit.