Video shows girl who died in 2022 Hesperia shootout was struck by deputy gunfire, appeared to be surrendering – Orange County Register

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The teenage girl shot to death during a gun battle along the 15 Freeway in Hesperia in September 2022 was killed by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies as she appeared to be surrendering, according to newly released video and audio files.

WARNING: The video below is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers

The files, received Friday, were released in response to a California Public Records Act request filed 18 months ago by the Southern California News Group.

Law officers and vehicles surround the vehicle, far left, driven by Anthony John Graziano, 45, after a gun battle with the man near Main Street and the 15 freeway in Hesperia on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Law officers and vehicles surround the vehicle, far left, driven by Anthony John Graziano, 45, after a gun battle with the man near Main Street and the 15 freeway in Hesperia on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Until the files were made available, there had been questions as to whether Savannah Graziano, 15, was killed by gunfire from deputies or by her father, Anthony John Graziano, 45, who was also killed in the shootout.

The shooting is likely to raise more questions about the training of the deputies, who were already under scrutiny for recent uses of force. On March 9, a deputy shot to death 15-year-old autistic boy Ryan Gainer as he chased a deputy while wielding a garden hoe outside his home in Apple Valley. And on March 26, a deputy repeatedly kneed in the head a man who was face-down on the pavement during an arrest in Hesperia.

The Graziano case began on Sept. 26, 2022, when Fontana police say Graziano shot his wife to death and kidnapped their daughter. An Amber Alert was issued for their white 2017 Nissan Frontier. The next day, a clerk at a High Desert convenience store called 911 when he recognized Savannah, who was buying snacks. Deputies found the pickup near the junction of highways 395 and 58 near Barstow, and a pursuit began.

The chase went along the 58 and then south on the 15, through Victorville and into Hesperia, with shots being exchanged. One witness told a dispatcher that shots were being fired from the pickup’s passenger side. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said at the time that Savannah was a “participant.”

Graziano left the freeway lanes at Main Street, where he drove the wrong way up the freeway onramp and unsuccessfully tried to drive up an embankment and onto Main Street. As puffs of dirt rose where bullets were striking, the pickup rolled backward toward the freeway.

A patrol car was stopped on the freeway shoulder near where the pickup came to rest.

That’s when Savannah, who the Sheriff’s Department said was wearing tactical gear, got out of the Frontier.

“The female juvie is out,” a deputy aboard an overhead helicopter says, according to the video. “She’s out on the passenger side.”

Another file plays an audio recording from a deputy who was coaxing Savannah to come to her.

“Passenger, get out! Passenger, get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!” the deputy shouts.

Savannah fell to the pavement as she got out. As the deputy continued to shout orders, she got up and, hunched over, walked briskly toward him.

“Come here! … Come to me! … Come come come come, walk walk walk walk,” he shouts.

“Stop! Stop shooting her! He’s in the car! Stop! She’s OK. He’s in the car! Stop!” the deputy shouts.

But it was too late. Other deputies’ gunfire cut down the girl.

The deputy in the helicopter witnessed the shooting.

“Ah, no,” he said.

The state Department of Justice investigated the shooting by the deputies under the state law that requires the DOJ to examine all fatal shootings by law enforcement officers of unarmed people The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has also investigated, to determine whether anything the deputies did amounted to a crime.

Neither agency could be reached for comment Monday afternoon. A sheriff’s spokeswoman, Mara Rodriguez, referred questions about the shooting to the DOJ.

There were no body-worn camera images of the shootout because the county had not yet issued the recording devices.

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