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The teenager killed in a police shootout on a California freeway earlier this week witnessed her father shoot her mother on the day before she died, police said.
Police say that Savannah Graziano, 15, was sitting in the backseat of the Nissan pickup truck owned by her 45-year-old father, Anthony John Graziano, when he opened fire on her mother, Tracy Martinez on Monday, according to witnesses and video taken prior to the incident, the City of Fontana Police Department said.
Authorities had previously suspected that Savannah Graziano hadn't been at the scene of her mother's shooting, however, newly discovered obtained video proves otherwise. Moments before Anthony Graziano emerged from the pickup truck and fired shots at Martinez with a handgun, the recordings allegedly show the teenager seated in the rear of the truck’s cab, according to authorities.
“She’s just sitting in the backseat,” Sgt. Christian Surgent told the Associated Press on Thursday.
The videos comprised footage from both a doorbell camera and a witness’ phone, the outlet reported. The recordings allegedly capture Savannah Graziano in the Nissan between 30 seconds and a minute prior to shots being fired. The pair of videos, which haven’t been released publicly, don’t show the physical shooting.
Fontana police officers had been dispatched to an address near the intersection of Cypress Avenue and Mallory Drive after reports of shots fired on Sept. 26. Upon arrival, authorities found Martinez, who had been shot several times. Martinez identified Anthony Graziano as her shooter before succumbing to her injuries at a nearby hospital.
The following day, authorities say they cornered Anthony and Savannah Graziano on the side of an interstate east of Los Angeles following a highway pursuit, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“As a result of that pursuit, the suspect immediately starts firing at our deputies, putting several rounds through the windshield of the patrol unit,” Sheriff Shannon Dicus said.
Savannah Graziano, who was wearing a helmet and tactical gear, was shot and killed as she ran towards law enforcement, police said. Her father died inside the truck.
Investigators are now probing whether the teenager was shot by responding deputies, her father or a combination of both. San Bernardino County Sheriff alleged that Savannah Graziano was a “participant” in “shooting” at responding deputies, but a preliminary investigation by the department found that the girl was unarmed when she exited the truck, the L.A. Times reported.
Dicus admitted at a Tuesday press conference that only one weapon — an AR-15 — was found after the shootout, and it was in the truck with Anthony Graziano, the Times said.
At the family’s home in Fontana, investigators also located a cache of AR-15 style rifles and pistols, thousands of rounds of ammunition, smoke grenades and other tactical equipment, per the Associated Press. The weapons were legally owned by Anthony Graziano, who had reportedly moved out of the home with his daughter roughly two weeks before the incident.
A motive in Martinez’s slaying hasn’t been released. Investigators, who have stated they have police video of the interstate shootout, haven’t yet released the footage.
The California Department of Justice is now investigating the teen’s death because she was allegedly unarmed. No other information has been released by officials.
A spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday morning.
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