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A shootout with law enforcement officials in California has left a murder suspect and his teenage daughter dead, according to preliminary reports.
Anthony John Graziano, 45, and his 15-year-old daughter, Savanna Graziano, were reported killed during a shootout with California law enforcement. Before his death, Anthony Graziano had been identified as the suspect in the shooting death of a woman — believed to be Graziano’s wife, Tracy Martinez, 45 — who was killed on Monday morning in Fontana, California, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Savanna was reportedly with her father when the shooting occurred, according to ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV.
Fontana police responded to a call of shots fired near the Cypress Elementary School at around 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
“Officers arrived and found an adult female suffering from multiple gunshot wounds,” the City of Fontana Police Department said in a statement. “The female was transported to a local trauma center, where she was pronounced deceased.”
Multiple news outlets identified the victim as Tracy Martinez, Anthony Graziano’s wife. According to the Washington Post, Martinez was Savanna Graziano’s mother.
Witnesses, including local resident Andy Davis, saw the shooting — which prompted the nearby school to go into lockdown mode.
“The man just came down the street shooting,” said Davis. “Hit those trees, houses across the street… they say the bullets were skipping off the street, and the woman was trying to run for her life, and unfortunately, she was hit. Once she was hit, I guess he shot at her a few more times.”
Family members told investigators Martinez and Graziano had been going through a divorce, according to the Associated Press and CBS News. Graziano subsequently took off with the couple’s daughter, prompting an Amber Alert, according to police.
Police soon appealed to the public for information on the whereabouts of the Grazianos and of the father’s white 2017 Nissan Frontier pickup truck, warning the public that Anthony Graziano was considered armed and dangerous.
On Tuesday around 10:25 a.m., a citizen recognized a vehicle matching the one described by police near Barstow — about 70 miles north of Fontana. CBS News reported father and daughter were spotted at a gas station, and Barstow officers were dispatched to the area of Highway 395 and Highway 58.
Barstow authorities “encountered the suspect vehicle” just before a pursuit ensued, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus announced during a live press conference.
“As a result of that pursuit, the suspect immediately starts firing at our deputies, putting several rounds through the windshield of the patrol unit,” said Sheriff Dicus.
The pursuit continued southwest on the I-15 toward Lenwood — in the direction of Fontana — where a second unit was dispatched. According to Dicus, Graziano allegedly fired “back at our deputies the entire time.” He added that bullets pierced the second patrol car, causing it to become disabled.
Graziano allegedly continued to flee for 40 miles on the I-15, driving toward the area of Victorville and Hesperia and “constantly shooting back at the deputies.” The vehicle veered off-road just off the interstate near Main Street in Hesperia as authorities closed in.
“As a result of that, a firefight ensues,” said Dicus. “During that firefight, the suspect vehicle comes to rest.”
After the car came to a stop, a person — now believed to be Savanna — exited the passenger’s side door wearing tactical gear, including a carrier plate and helmet. Police had not said if she was armed when exiting the vehicle, and authorities on the scene claimed they were unable to discern whether or not the person was male or female.
“That subject starts to run toward sheriff’s deputies, and during the gunfire, goes down,” Sheriff Dicus stated. “Sheriff’s deputies immediately go to clear the vehicle… to make it safe and render medical aid, at which time, they contact the subject wearing the tactical gear.”
The subject — Savanna — succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 11:52 a.m.
It has yet to be determined whether she was killed by police gunfire or by her father's, and investigators are looking into the possibility that Savanna was “involved in some of the fire exchange” before exiting the vehicle, according to Dicus.
The suspect believed to be Savanna’s father — who was in the driver’s seat during the shootout — died on the scene.
Dicus said unconfirmed reports indicate that an “AR-type rifle” was recovered from inside the pickup truck. Investigators are still determining what other weapons, if any, were found on the scene.
A deputy was also injured by shrapnel during the chase.
Officials emphasized that their findings were still preliminary and that official identification of the bodies was still pending with the coroner’s office.
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