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Family of teenager who was shot dead by police after trying to escape kidnapper dad’s car release statement

Family of teenager who was shot dead by police after trying to escape kidnapper dad’s car release statement

Harrowing footage of US teen Savannah Graziano's death has since been released

The family of the teenager who was shot dead by police after trying to escape her kidnapper dad’s car have released an official statement on the tragic ordeal.

Chilling footage of the moment a US teenager was shot dead in 2022 by police officers - after following instructions to exit the vehicle of her armed kidnapper - was released to the public earlier this month.

In September of that year, 15-year-old Savannah Graziano was reported missing by her family, with fears that she'd been abducted by her own father.

An 'Amber Alert' for the teen was quickly issued after it was discovered that California-local, Anthony Graziano, had fatally shot Savannah's mother, Tracy Martinez, outside of a school the day prior to the heartbreaking incident.

After his location was determined by police in the days that followed, however, an 'armed and dangerous' Anthony dragged his daughter with him on a mission to escape.

He took to the roads, and after 45 minutes of firing at pursuing officers, the father's vehicle was cornered on the side of a freeway in Hesperia - spinning offroad - before Anthony was shot by deputies on the scene.

As Savannah subsequently attempted to climb out of the pick-up truck, however - as instructed by officers - the youngster was suddenly gunned down.

She was quickly transported to a hospital on Interstate 15, but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Now - two years after her death - harrowing aerial footage has been released to the public, showing what had occurred in the moments before her shock death.

Savannah's uncle is calling for stricter training.

The heartbreaking clip - which was obtained from the San Bernardino’s Sheriff’s Department under the California Public Records Act - also includes audio, indicating the officers instructed her to exit the vehicle.

"Passenger, get out! Come here! Come to me! Come, come, come," deputies can be heard telling the terrified youngster. "Walk, walk, walk…"

Savannah is then shot at, and is seen dropping to the floor.

"Oh no," one law enforcement officer then says. "Stop shooting her, he’s in the car! Stop! She’s OK, he’s in the car… Stop."

The California Department of Justice have since launched an investigation into Savannah's death, after her devastated uncle told press that he expects repercussions.

"There needs to be better training so that unarmed people aren’t killed. Hopefully this video can be used for training – something has to be done differently.

"She didn’t have to die," CJ Wyatt told The Guardian.

Footage of Savannah's killing has been released to the public.
San Bernadino County Sherrif's Department

The grieving uncle went on to say it sounded like there was at least one deputy who was calling Savannah was trying to protect her, adding: "You can tell he was really trying to save her, so it’s just unfortunate that there was some kind of miscommunication. He clearly knew it was Savannah, so what is the difference between him and the others?"

Wyatt, ultimately, blamed Savannah’s the heartbreaking situation with her father who he described as 'abusive and manipulative'.

Speaking about his late niece, the uncle added: "She was a really sweet girl at her core, and she didn’t deserve this."

Police officials have also since claimed that deputies on the scene did not initially realise Savannah was only a teenage girl when she first emerged from the car, despite the footage implying otherwise.

The sheriff’s subsequent statement describing the distressing audio read: "You can hear [a deputy] calling her over and telling other deputies that the person who exited the truck was the passenger and for them to stop firing, but it was too late."

Tyla has previously contacted the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department for comment.

Featured Image Credit: ABC7

Topics: News, US News, World News, Crime