Savannah Graziano death: Internet livid as video shows California cops fatally shoot unarmed teen who was kidnapped by her father

Savannah Graziano death: Internet livid as video shows California cops fatally shoot unarmed teen who was kidnapped by her father
Anthony Graziano murdered his estranged wife before abducting his daughter Savannah (Fontana Police Department)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Newly released video footage revealed that deputies fatally shot a California teenager, believed to have been kidnapped by her father in September 2022, as she complied with their commands.

Contrary to previous claims by officials, the teenager, Savannah Graziano, 15, did not appear to be wearing tactical gear in the video footage released on Friday, March 29, 2024.

Savannah's father, Anthony John Graziano, 45, abducted her after allegedly murdering her mother, his estranged wife, on September 26, 2022, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office.

Anthony Graziano murdered estranged wife before abducting  daughter

The chain of events commenced two days prior to the shooting on September 26, 2022, when 45-year-old Anthony Graziano purportedly murdered his estranged wife and abducted their 15-year-old daughter, Savannah Graziano, from a residence in the city of Fontana, located in San Bernardino County.

Authorities promptly issued an Amber Alert the subsequent day, disseminating images of Savannah, her father, and his pickup truck. On September 28, 2022, a tipster notified law enforcement after spotting Savannah.

Police intercepted Graziano's pickup truck, with Savannah in the passenger seat, initiating a pursuit that spanned several miles along Interstate 15 and concluded in the desert city of Hesperia.

Graziano allegedly discharged multiple rounds during the pursuit, striking patrol cars and causing injuries to a deputy hit by shrapnel.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus stated in a subsequent statement that Savannah was implicated in firing at deputies.

The Press-Enterprise newspaper relayed a witness account to dispatchers, reporting gunfire emanating from the passenger side of the truck, although this assertion remains under investigation.

What does the released video show?

(NBC NEWS screengrab)
The aerial video shows Graziano trying to drive over a dirt hill after leaving the highway during the chase (NBC NEWS/screengrab)

The video, taken from a helicopter belonging to the sheriff's office, shows Graziano trying to drive over a dirt hill after leaving the highway during the chase.

However, his truck can't make it up the hill, so he reverses back down to the area between the off-ramp and highway.

The police have the pickup truck surrounded, and Graziano fires shots again, causing puffs of dirt to kick up.

The deputies on the ground don't have body cameras, but they do have audio belt recordings.

The sheriff's office released the recording from the deputy closest to Savannah. The deputy yells for the passenger, Savannah, to get out of the truck, which she does while wearing a bulletproof vest and a tactical helmet.

She lies down on the road, and the deputy in the helicopter informs the others that she's out of the truck. The deputy closest to her instructs her to come toward him, urging her to walk. Savannah gets up and starts walking toward the deputy.

Video shows the teen who was kidnapped by father has been fatally shot by deputies (NBC screengrab)
The police have the pickup truck surrounded, and Graziano fires shots again, causing puffs of dirt to kick up
(NBC screengrab)

Deputies from a distance and higher locations, with differing fields of view, see Savannah exit the vehicle and move toward other deputies.

They open fire, hitting Savannah. The deputy who instructed her to walk toward him screams for the shooting to stop, “Stop! Stop shooting her. He’s in the car! She’s OK! He’s in the car. Stop!” realizing that Savannah was unarmed and not a threat.

The deputies stopped firing, but it was too late; Savannah was fatally hit by their bullets.

Deputies rushed to Savannah's side, and paramedics transported her to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead by doctors.

Graziano was also killed in the shootout. The day after the shooting, Sheriff Dicus requested that the state Attorney General’s Office investigate the incident under Assembly Bill 1506, which mandates investigations into officer-involved shootings resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian.

The California Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation.

According to her obituary, Savannah was home-schooled and was a devoted member of her church. She enjoyed camping, skateboarding, playing video games, spending time with her dog Aurora, and being with her family and friends.

Internet outraged after video shows Savannah was unarmed

Responding to the video, one Internet user claimed, "Cops are sick." Another wrote, "It still has to get worse before it gets better. Too many people think mistakes like this can't impact them or anyone they care about."

Someone else said, "Those officers need to be charged," while a fourth questioned, "Are they going to investigate whose bullet hit the girl?"

Another noted, "Don’t blame the cops. The little girl was in the wrong place and the wrong time. It is her father that is the scum bag. She got killed by incident. Sad."

This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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