California deputies shot, killed teen kidnapping victim as she was seen surrendering: video

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A California teenage girl who had been kidnapped by her father followed a sheriff’s deputy’s orders and appeared to be surrendering when she was shot and killed by other deputies during a gun battle on a highway in 2022, newly released video and audio shows.

Savannah Graziano, 15, was shot and killed as she ran toward San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies amid the gunfire on Sept. 27, 2022. Her father, 45-year-old Anthony Graziano, was also killed by gunfire.

The sheriff’s department released the video and audio clips last week following public records requests by several news outlets. The deputies were not wearing body cameras, but video footage was recorded by a sheriff’s helicopter and witness dashboard cameras.

Prior to the shooting of Savannah and her father, deputies pursued Mr. Graziano’s pickup truck for roughly 70 miles, including along Highway 15. A helicopter crew following the chase said shots were fired from the driver’s side of the truck, and a deputy and passing motorist said other shots were fired from the passenger’s side.

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Savannah Graziano

Savannah Graziano, 15, was shot and killed as she ran toward San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 27, 2022. (City of Fontana Police Department via AP)

It is unclear who was shooting from the truck.

Mr. Graziano’s truck and deputy vehicles stopped on the desert interstate east of Los Angeles in Hesperia, located about 35 miles north of Fontana, where he had shot and killed his estranged wife Tracy Martinez, who is also Savannah’s mother, the day before.

Savannah was just steps from making it safely to a deputy when she was fatally shot, the video shows.

A deputy taking cover behind a sheriff’s department SUV repeatedly shouts to Savannah, “Passenger, get out!” and “Come to me, come to me!”

The girl, who was wearing tactical gear and a helmet, exits the pickup truck’s passenger side and runs toward the deputy, briefly crouching on the ground as the deputy continues to shout commands.

Deputies shoot and kill kidnapping victim seen surrendering in California

Savannah Graziano was just steps from making it safely to a deputy when she was fatally shot, the video shows. (San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

Then, as she rises from her crouch and starts making her way toward the deputy, other deputies from a higher elevation open fire. The deputy screams, “Stop! Stop shooting her! He’s in the car! Stop!” Savannah was unarmed as the shooting unfolded.

The deputy’s orders to stop shooting were not broadcast over the radio, but the audio was captured by his belt recorder, the sheriff’s department said.

“Oh, no,” a deputy in the helicopter was heard saying over the radio after the girl was shot.

Officials would not disclose for months whether Savannah was killed by her father or the deputies. In the newly released video, the narrator said she and her father were struck by deputy rounds and died of their injuries.

The sheriff’s department has not released autopsy results for Savannah, her father or her mother. The department also has not identified the deputies involved in the shooting.

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Anthony John Graziano

Anthony John Graziano, 45, was killed by deputies during a gun battle. (City of Fontana Police Department via AP)

Four sheriff’s department vehicles were struck by gunfire during the pursuit, and deputies seized multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds, as well as flash bangs, smoke grenades, body armor and tactical helmets from Graziano’s truck, the agency said.

The state’s Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting, is required by state law to review any officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian.

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Savannah witnessed her mother’s killing from the backseat of her father’s truck but did not jump out to help her, according to authorities. Her father exited the vehicle with a handgun and fired several times at Martinez near an elementary school during the morning drop-off, prompting students and parents to seek cover. He also shot at a father and child near the school.

Graziano had moved out of the family’s home a month or two before he killed Martinez as the couple was going through a divorce, Fontana police said. Savannah left with her father while her younger brother stayed with their mother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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