15-year-old killed in Hesperia shootout was likely unarmed as she ran toward deputies, report says

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Saturday, October 1, 2022
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The Fontana teenager killed this week alongside her father in a shootout with law enforcement in Hesperia was likely unarmed as she ran toward deputies, according to a new report.

HESPERIA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Fontana teenager killed this week alongside her father in a shootout with law enforcement in Hesperia was likely unarmed as she ran toward deputies, according to a new report.

The preliminary findings are a result of an investigation that's been turned over to the California attorney general's office, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Citing an email from the attorney general's office, the Times reported the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department notified the California Department of Justice that the deadly shooting could qualify under AB 1506. The law requires the justice department to investigate cases in which "the death to the unarmed civilian is caused by a California peace officer."

In a 39-second video posted on social media Wednesday, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said that evidence suggested 15-year-old Savannah Graziano was "a participant in shooting at our deputies." Dicus did not provide further specific details in the video.

Anthony John Graziano, a fugitive who had been wanted in the death of the teen's mother, and his daughter were killed Tuesday in a shootout with deputies on the 15 Freeway in Hesperia after a 45-mile chase. Shots were fired at the officers from the pickup truck as it was being chased.

Once it came to a stop, the girl, wearing a tactical helmet and vest, got out and ran toward deputies amid a hail of gunfire, police said. Authorities are investigating whether she was shot by deputies or her father, or both.

Police have said the only weapon retrieved at the scene was a rifle in the truck, where Anthony Graziano died. There is police video of the shootout that authorities are reviewing.

More details that shed light into what led to the highway gun battle were released Wednesday.

Police in Fontana - where Graziano's wife, Tracy Martinez, was killed Monday near an elementary school - offered some details about the family's life before the bloodshed.

RELATED: 15-year-old girl killed in Hesperia shootout had been staying with father before mother's slaying

Anthony Graziano had moved out of the family's home a month or two before the killing, as the couple went through a divorce, Fontana Sgt. Christian Surgent told The Associated Press. Savannah Graziano left with her father, while her younger brother stayed with their mother.

Police issued an Amber Alert after Martinez's killing, saying Savannah Graziano had been abducted by her father. Detectives are trying to determine whether or not she was forced into leaving Fontana.

A public information officer with the Fontana Police Department told Eyewitness News Savannah was in the vehicle when Anthony Graziano shot and killed his wife.

Fontana police had not received any reports of domestic violence at the home before this week, Surgent said, and child services had not been involved with the family. Neither parent was on probation or parole at the time and investigators believe Savannah was being home-schooled while she lived with her father, who police said liked to camp out in the desert and mountains in his pickup truck.

Teen girl killed in Hesperia shootout was present when father gunned down mother, police say

A 911 caller Tuesday reported seeing the suspect's Nissan Frontier around Barstow.

Law enforcement located the pickup truck and chased it on the highway to Hesperia. Throughout the pursuit, Graziano was "constantly shooting back at the deputies" with a rifle through the truck's rear window, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said Tuesday during a news conference.

Dicus said there were "some indications" Savannah was shooting at deputies during the chase but didn't provide any details.

A firefight in Hesperia ensued when the truck went off-road and somehow became disabled, with dozens of bullets flying. Savannah ran toward deputies - who did not realize it was her - in the chaos and went down amid the gunfire. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly before noon.

Her father was found in the driver's seat and pronounced dead at the scene.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.