Savannah Graziano death: New footage shows California cops fatally shooting 15-year-old unarmed kidnapping victim - Hindustan Times
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Savannah Graziano death: New footage shows California cops fatally shooting 15-year-old unarmed kidnapping victim

BySumanti Sen
Apr 02, 2024 01:53 PM IST

Newly released law enforcement footage has revealed the moment an unarmed 15-year-old girl was shot dead by California police in September 2022

Newly released law enforcement footage has revealed the moment an unarmed 15-year-old girl was shot dead by California police. Savannah Graziano, who was killed on September 27, 2022, was a reported kidnapping victim.

Savannah Graziano death: New footage has showed California cops fatally shooting a 15-year-old unarmed kidnapping victim (City of Fontana Police Department)
Savannah Graziano death: New footage has showed California cops fatally shooting a 15-year-old unarmed kidnapping victim (City of Fontana Police Department)

San Bernardino county sheriff’s deputies were looking for Savannah after reports that she had been abducted by her father, Anthony Graziano. Just a day before, Anthony had gunned down her mother.

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Anthony’s car was cornered by deputies on the side of a freeway in Hesperia, 80 miles east of Los Angeles. When Savannah got out of the vehicle, they shot her dead – a killing that sparked widespread outrage across the nation.

Sheriff’s officials refused to release the footage for about two years. After the incident, they claimed it was unclear whether Savannah’s father shot her, or deputies. They also claimed deputies failed to realise it was Savannah when she exited the car.

The search for Savannah Graziano

However, about a dozen video files have now been released and shared with independent journalist Joey Scott. The Guardian, who reviewed the clips, including helicopter footage, reported that deputies shot Savannah as she moved toward them, following their instructions. The videos reportedly also showed that Savannah was shot after two officers commented that it was the girl.

Police began searching for Savannah on September 26, 2022, when her father killed her mom, and also shot at a father and his child outside a school in Fontana. An Amber alert was issued for Savannah, and it was reported that she was suspected “abducted/taken” by her dad.

A high-speed and lengthy chase began after deputies spotted Anthony’s car. Multiple gunshots were fired at motorists and the deputies from the vehicle. The sheriff's department said a day after the shooting that Savannah was "a participant in shooting at our deputies," according to ABC7. The new department narrative that has been released with footage notes that gunfire erupted from the passenger side of the car. However, it is unclear who fired the shots.

What does the video show?

When Savannah exited the truck, she was wearing tactical gear and a helmet, but was unarmed. She was seen getting down on the ground. She then began walking toward the deputies.

The department released audio that revealed a deputy shouting, "Passenger get out! Passenger get out!" and “Hey, come to me, come to me.”

The video stated that while this particular deputy asked Savannah to move toward him, other deputies at different viewpoints only saw someone getting out of the vehicle. This is when they opened fire.

"Oh no," one deputy can be heard saying after the shooter. The deputy who had asked Savannah to move toward him can be heard saying, “Hey, stop, stop shooting her! He's in the car. Stop."

The video narrative says, "You can hear him calling her over and telling other deputies that the person who exited the truck was the passenger and for them to stop firing, but it was too late."

Savannah was rushed to a local hospital where she was declared dead. Anthony died at the scene during the shootout. Officials recovered various firearms from the car, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, flash bang and smoke grenades, body armour and tactical helmets, according to the department. The incident is being investigated by the California Department of Justice.

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