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California Police Gunned Down Unarmed 15-Year-Old Kidnapping Victim As She Ran To Them For Rescue

The Publica Team

New footage released out of California shows the tragic moment a kidnapping victim was gunned down by police as she attempted to make an escape from her captor. Savannah Graziano, 15, had been slowly approaching officers when she was repeatedly shot by police officers.

Savannah was kidnapped by her own father, Anthony Graziano, in September of 2022 just one day after he murdered her mother, Tracy Martinez, who was in the process of finalizing a divorce from him. At the time, Savannah was staying with her father, who was apparently homeless, but had siblings who lived with her mother. The two parents were estranged and had a rocky relationship.

While Martinez was dropping her other children off at school, Graziano tracked her down and shot her in view of the minors. Martinez briefly survived, and was able to identify Graziano as her shooter before succumbing to her injuries at the hospital.

At some point after he murdered Martinez, Graziano fled with a terrified Savannah, prompting an Amber Alert in several counties.

After his truck was spotted, Graziano led San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies on a lengthy, high-speed chase in which multiple gunshots were fired at deputies and other motorists. After 70 miles, his truck eventually got stuck off of the 15 Freeway in Hesperia, prompting police to swarm around the vehicle.

While the circumstances surrounding Savannah’s death were initially vague, new footage released this week shows the girl’s tragic final moments. The disturbing video of the shooting was released Monday after journalists requested it under the California Public Records Act. 

After 15-year-old Savannah exited the stalled truck, a helicopter monitor can be heard communicating that the girl was getting out of the vehicle, saying to officers on the ground that “the girl’s out, the female juvie is out. She’s out on the passenger side.”

Spotting the teen, one officer prompted her to come closer to them for rescue, shouting: “Hey, come to me, come to me.”

But as Savannah approached, she was shot repeatedly by other officers. At the time of the killing, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said it looked like the teen was wearing “tactical gear” when she exited the vehicle, something that has not been substantiated by the new footage.

In the video, the officer who had initially called for Savannah to approach can be heard pleading with his colleague to stop shooting the girl.

Savannah’s father was also killed at the scene, and a search of his vehicle found a stash of tactical gear, weapons, ammunition, and smoke grenades.

The incident remains under investigation by California’s Department of Justice.

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