A teenage girl at the centre of a kidnap drama was shot and killed by police during a shootout with her abductor.
An amber alert was issued on Monday (September 26) after Anthony Graziano shot his estranged wife in Southern California and then went on the run with his 15-year-old daughter, Savannah.
The body of Graziano’s former wife, 45-year-old Tracy Martinez, was found at the home she lived in with her daughter. She had been shot several times in what police describe as a “domestic violence incident”.
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Savannah was spotted with Graziano in his white Nissan pickup in the nearby Barstow area the following morning, and officers from the California Highway Patrol attempted to apprehend Graziano at around 11:15am.
A police chase ensued along a remote stretch of California highway ensued, with the fleeing man shooting “constantly out of the back window of the vehicle.
Police manage to disable Graziano’s vehicle as they reached the city of Hesperia, in San Bernardino County, but the kidnapper continued firing from within the vehicle.
At least one deputy was injured during the shootout, reportedly being struck by shrapnel to the face, according to Dicus.
At one point, San Bernardino County police say, 45-year-old Graziano was shot and fatally wounded.
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It was then that Savanah, who police say was wearing “tactical gear” emerged from the pickup and began running towards the deputies.
"During that firefight, the suspect vehicle comes to rest, at which time a subject exits the passenger side of the vehicle wearing tactical gear," San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus told a press conference on Tuesday.
"That subject starts to run towards sheriff's deputies and during the gunfire goes down.
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“They contact the subject wearing the tactical gear, and we believe that both the suspect in the vehicle and the person that's contacted with the tactical gear, that that person is our 15-year-old juvenile, Savannah. The suspect we believe is Graziano inside the car."
Savannah was taken to the hospital by San Bernardino County Fire Department first responders but sadly died at the hospital.
Her father died at the scene, with his pickup described by witnesses as being “riddled” with bullet holes.
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