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Bystanders rescued four children from a car that crashed into a river after the mother driving the car was fatally shot on Monday.
The woman’s domestic partner and the father of three of the children has since been charged with murder.
Harrell Fischer was working on his boat on the Sacramento River Monday night when he heard crashing and saw taillights plummet into the water. He and a friend jumped into a boat and zoomed toward the lights, he told KCRA-3, a local outlet. As they got closer, Fischer said they started to hear screaming.
A car holding four children, a woman, and the woman’s domestic partner had swerved off the road and into the river, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said in a Wednesday press release. The mother, who was driving the car, had been shot in the head, Sergeant Tess Deterding told Oxygen.com.
“We went right up to the door and opened it up and I saw a little face look up at me,” Fischer told KCRA. “I just about melted.”
The four children, all aged between 2 and 6 years old, were pulled out of the car's backseats, Deterding said. Fischer said a man, later identified as 27-year-old Mandiko Kwadzo, also got out of the car but refused to help move the kids to safety.
The oldest child told Fischer something that shocked him.
“He said, ‘He shot my mom,’” Fischer told KCRA-3. “I said, ‘What? What did you say?’ And he said, ‘He shot my mom.’ This little 6-year-old says to me, ‘You don’t come back from a shot like that.’”
Once the children were out of the car, Fischer said he draped his coat around them and had them huddle together for warmth, CBS Sacramento reported. Fire personnel soon arrived and pronounced their mother dead on the scene, according to the sheriff’s press release.
Kwadzo was arrested and charged with murder. He is being held without bail, according to an online inmate search.
He is the father of three of the four children, Deterding said. It is currently unclear who the parents of the fourth child are.
The victim has not yet been positively identified, the Sacramento Coroner’s Office told Oxygen.com.
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