Girl Killed In Hesperia Gunfight Was With Father Before Mother’s Death

Authorities said on Wednesday that the man suspected of murdering his estranged wife in Fontana and kidnapping their 15-year-old daughter had been living with the girl in his pickup truck and hotels for weeks prior to the tragedy.

On Tuesday, following a 45-mile chase, law enforcement officers murdered Anthony John Graziano and his daughter, Savannah Graziano, in a gunfight on a roadway in the high desert. The teenager sprinted toward deputies while wearing a tactical helmet and a military-style vest designed to hold armored plates. It is unclear whether deputies, her father, or both were responsible for the shooting.

Girl Killed In Hesperia Gunfight Was With Father Before Mother's Death
Girl Killed In Hesperia Gunfight Was With Father Before Mother’s Death

Evidence suggests the youngster shot at deputies before she was slain, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said Wednesday.

While many aspects of the Tuesday gun battle remain unclear, police in Fontana, where Graziano’s wife, Tracy Martinez, 45, was killed on Monday, have provided some insight into the family’s history.

According to Fontana police Sgt. Christian Surgent, who spoke to The Associated Press and confirmed the story to ABC7, Graziano, 45, had moved out of the family home a month or two before the mother’s slaying because the pair was going through a divorce. Younger Graziano sibling stayed behind with mom while older sister Savannah went with dad.

After Martinez was murdered, police issued an Amber Alert claiming that Savannah Graziano had been kidnapped by her father. The investigation into whether or not she was forced to leave Fontana continues.

“Did she leave voluntarily?” As Surgent put it. “Or perhaps she was kidnapped. However, we haven’t been able to provide conclusive evidence for that claim just yet.”

Surgent stated that neither child services nor the Fontana police had been contacted by the family prior to the murder. It is believed that Savannah was being homeschooled by her father, who authorities say enjoyed camping in the desert and mountains in the back of his pickup truck, despite neither parent being on probation or parole at the time.

On Monday, Graziano picked up Martinez from a walking location in Fontana, and witnesses witnessed Martinez get into the pickup. Surgent stated that it was unclear whether or not she voluntarily entered the vehicle.

After that, “they started shouting and yelling, and domestic violence was occurring,” he added.

Surgent stated that Martinez exited the truck for unknown reasons and was shot many times by Graziano, who was armed with a handgun. A morning drop-off gunfire on the street outside an elementary school sent youngsters and parents running for cover.

“An armed man has just come down the street. When he aimed in that way, he began firing “Andy Davis, a resident of the area, stated to ABC7. “Do some damage to the trees and nearby homes. They said the woman was trying to run for her life as gunshots bounced off the pavement, but she was struck and killed. I assume he fired additional shots at her after she was hit.”

According to Surgent, Graziano departed the scene and drove to retrieve Savannah, who was elsewhere at the time. The kid was at home with his parents and totally innocent.

A 911 caller the following day said they had seen the suspect’s Nissan Frontier in the Barstow area.

The pickup truck was spotted, and deputies gave chase on the freeway for almost 45 miles before reaching Hesperia. Sherriff Shannon Dicus of San Bernardino County stated at a press conference on Tuesday that Graziano “constantly shot back at the deputies” with a rifle through the truck’s rear window throughout the pursuit.

There was a gunfight after the pickup truck broke down on the side of the road in Hesperia, with hundreds of bullets flying. While the deputies were distracted by the chaos and the firing, Savannah hurried toward them. After being rushed to the hospital, she was pronounced dead just before noon.

The coroner pronounced her father dead at the spot after discovering him in the driver’s seat.

Even though a rifle was the only weapon discovered, authorities didn’t rule out the possibility that Graziano’s daughter was also firing from the vehicle.

On Wednesday, however, Dicus said in a 39-second video shared online that the girl, then 15 years old, “was a participant in shooting at our deputies.” Dicus gave no specifics about when she allegedly shot at the deputies.

Dicus claimed one deputy was hurt by shrapnel during the gun battle.

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