Video that shows police shoot dead unarmed teenage kidnapping victim sparks concern in U.S.

(Xinhua) 10:54, April 03, 2024

LOS ANGELES, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Newly released video that shows the chilling moment police fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old girl who had been kidnapped by her father in 2022 in Southern California has sparked national concern in the United States.

The tragic story has featured in media across the country since the video released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on Friday.

The video paints a clearer picture of the shootout between a murder suspect and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies that killed him and his teenage abducted daughter on Sept. 27, 2022, reported KTLA television station, the West Coast flagship of The CW Television Network.

The video shows that 15-year-old Savannah Graziano, who was abducted by her father Anthony on Sept. 26, 2022, after he allegedly murdered his estranged wife in Fontana, may have been surrendering at the time she appeared to have been shot by deputies, said the report.

Anthony led authorities on a dangerous 45-mile pursuit, shooting at deputies with Savannah in the vehicle before the chase ended in a shootout on a freeway on the following day.

The new footage, which was recorded from a helicopter over the scene at the time of the shootout, shows Anthony exchanging gunfire with deputies as Savannah kneels on the ground before standing and walking directly toward a sheriff's deputy, according to the report.

One deputy was heard alerting other officers to stop firing at the person approaching them, who he recognized to be Savannah. As the girl appeared to be trying to save her own life by surrendering, she was struck by gunfire from a sheriff's deputy, the report added.

Deputies on the ground were not wearing body cameras, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department released audio from a microphone on the belt of a deputy who was near the girl when she got out of her father's truck, reported another major news outlet, Los Angeles Times, the largest newspaper in the western United States.

"Passenger, get out," the deputy repeatedly yells as gunfire erupts in the background. He instructs the girl, "Come here! Come to me! Come, come, come ... walk, walk, walk," said the report, adding that the deputy pleads with his fellow officers to stop shooting as she falls to the ground.

The report pointed out that the shooting is under investigation by the California Department of Justice and the Sheriff's Department declined to provide additional comments or details.

"This type of footage can exonerate cops and it can also show what really happened. Even in watching these videos, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered," Joey Scott, a journalist who received the video and audio from the Sheriff's Department 18 months after he filed his first request under the California Public Records Act in September 2022 and published his reporting in the Guardian, was quoted as saying by Los Angeles Times.

Savannah's grandmother told media that they have more questions about how San Bernardino County trains its deputies.

The shooting is likely to raise more questions about the training of the deputies, who were already under scrutiny for recent uses of force, noted The Press-Enterprise, a daily newspaper published in Southern California.

On March 9, a deputy shot to death a 15-year-old autistic boy as he chased a deputy while wielding a garden hoe outside his home in Apple Valley of San Bernardino County. And on March 26, a deputy repeatedly kneed in the head of a man who was face-down on the pavement during an arrest in Hesperia, according to the report.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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