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The family of a cyclist killed in a hit-and-run by a suspected carjacker are joining authorities in asking for the public’s help in finding the person responsible.
Branden Finley, 46, was riding his bike in Los Angeles on Saturday morning when he was struck from behind by a man driving a stolen white 2010 Toyota Tacoma, the LAPD said in a news release that does not mention Finley by name. The victim landed on the hood of the truck and flew 150 feet before landing on the ground, according to police. It is unclear if the suspect, who police said had already been traveling at high speeds and driving recklessly, stopped at any point during the collision, but authorities said that after Finley landed, the suspect continued driving down the street, later getting into a second collision with two other cars and fleeing on foot.
First responders were called to the scene but despite the efforts of paramedics, Finley was pronounced dead, police said.
Police are searching for a Black male who is around 5’6 and weighs between 150 and 160 pounds, according to the release. He has short hair and was last seen wearing black pants, a white hoodie, and no shoes; authorities suspect that he may have also sustained head injuries during the second collision.
In addition to the fatal hit-and-run, the suspect is also believed to have stolen the car that he was driving at the time of both collisions. The owner of the white truck in question told authorities that he’d been making a delivery on Saturday morning and had left his car running when the suspect approached him and asked him for a ride, according to the release. When the owner of the truck said no, the suspect then got into the truck anyway; despite the owner’s attempts, which included jumping into the back of the truck, to stop the theft, the carjacker succeeded in driving off. The owner reportedly jumped out of the truck later for his own safety.
Finley, a father of two, was meeting up with friends for a bike ride when he was killed, KABC reports. Now, his loved ones are determined to get justice.
"I want to be strong for him, for my family. And I want to make sure that I get justice,” his daughter, Koi Finley, told the outlet. “That's what I want. I will not stop, I will not breathe or eat until I get justice for my dad.”
A GoFundMe campaign launched in his honor has already garnered more than a $25,000 in donations.
The Los Angeles City Council is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s capture. Authorities are asking that anyone with any information on the case reach out during business hours to Det. Juan Campos at 213-833-3713 or the Central Traffic Division watch commander at 213-833-3746. The department’s 24-hour line can be reached by calling 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Additionally, those who wish to submit anonymous tips can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or do so online.
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