Savannah Graziano’s 2022 death caused by shooting by San Bernardino officer, video shows

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As a high-speed chase unfolded along a Southern California highway in 2022, a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy ordered a young female passenger out of the white 2017 Nissan Frontier and toward him.

Agents and other law enforcement had caught Anthony Graziano, 45, who a day earlier had kidnapped his 15-year-old daughter Savannah and fled shortly after being suspected of killing his ex-wife.

“Come at me! Come at me! Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk,” the officer is heard instructing Savannah, according to newly released audio of the encounter. Seconds later, the deputy is heard frantically calling out to others.

“Hey! Stop!” the deputy is heard saying. “Stop shooting him, he’s in the car! Arrest!”

It was too late and Savannah had been fatally shot.

Now, newly released video and audio recordings by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, obtained through public records requests with the agency. I posted them online.have clarified a long-standing question that has hung over the fatal incident for the past 18 months, and raised several new questions.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department declined to comment further on the case and referred questions to the California Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting. The department previously said it would investigate whether responding officers followed shooting protocol. The state Department of Justice declined to discuss the case Tuesday and referred reporters to a 2022 press release announcing the investigation.

In the hours following the Sept. 27, 2022, shooting in the desert town of Hesperia, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials, citing preliminary information, described Savannah as a “participant” and suggested she possibly fired at officers. when they approached her. My father’s car.

The recordings provide insight into how differently agents on the ground and in the air viewed the unfolding scene, and how there came to be confusion over Savannah’s role.

Before the shooting came an Amber Alert for the teen and a highway chase once she was spotted west of Barstow. A gas station employee called police to report that she had sold two sodas to Savannah and had seen her get into Graziano’s truck, according to the video.

As Graziano sped down a highway, he fired at the patrol cars, disabling one, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said during a news conference the day of the incident. At times, Graziano would speed more than 113 mph down the highway, according to an officer over the radio.

Already into the chase, an agent reported by radio that he had seen gunshots from the passenger window. Helicopter units reported seeing gunshots from the driver’s side window.

A witness driving on the highway also reported seeing gunshots from the passenger side.

“It must have been someone else because someone was still driving the truck,” the witness said, according to an audio recording released by the sheriff’s department.

In video produced by the sheriff’s department, the agency noted that this is not confirmation that shots were fired from the passenger side, and said investigators are still looking into whether that happened.

After failing to clear an embankment, Graziano became trapped and a shootout began. As bullets flew, Savannah, dressed in a bulletproof vest and tactical helmet, exited her father’s vehicle.

An officer is heard calling for Savannah to come to him, according to audio captured by a belt recording of the officer who was closest to the girl. But when the girl approaches, other officers start shooting. The officer yells that Savannah’s father is still in the vehicle and tells them to stop shooting.

“She is fine! She’s in the car…stop,” the officer said. He arrived too late: Savannah was fatally injured and taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her father died at the scene.

The release of footage from the Graziano shooting comes as the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department already faces intense scrutiny over a shooting last month in which Officers killed a 15-year-old boy with autism.

Two officers shot and killed Ryan Gainer in his home after the teen attacked an officer with a garden hoe. Footage of the encounter was released on March 13 and drew anger from the community, as well as a rebuke from Gainer’s family.

“I understand,” DeWitt Lacy, a lawyer for the Gainer family, told the Washington Post in March. “It may have been disconcerting for an officer, but that doesn’t mean [they] to be able to shoot a 15-year-old boy to death.”

While there was body camera footage of the Gainer shooting, San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies did not have the technology in 2022; There is only one aerial video captured from a helicopter of the Graziano incident. After several delays, the department launched a body camera program – becoming the last sheriff’s departments in the region to do so.

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