A Southern California man accused of killing his ex-wife and abducting their 15-year-old daughter had been living with the teenager out of his van and hotels for weeks before the violence, reports said. authorities on Wednesday.
Anthony John Graziano and his daughter, Savannah Graziano, were killed Tuesday in a shootout with law enforcement on a highway in the high desert after a 45-mile (72 kilometer) chase. The girl, wearing a tactical helmet and vest, ran towards deputies amid a hail of gunfire. Authorities are investigating whether she was shot by deputies or her father, or both.
While many questions remain about Tuesday’s shooting, police in Fontana – where Graziano’s wife, Tracy Martinez, 45, was killed on Monday – provided some details about the family’s life before the shooting. bloodshed this week.
A storage unit filled with legally held weapons and ammunition was discovered belonging to the suspect. Tony Shin reports on September 28, 2022.
Graziano, 45, had left the family home a month or two before the mother’s murder as the couple divorced Fontana Sgt. Christian Surgent told The Associated Press. Savannah Graziano left with her father, while her younger brother stayed with their mother.
Police have issued an Amber Alert after Martinez’s murder, claiming Savannah Graziano was abducted by her father. Now detectives are trying to determine whether or not she was forced to leave Fontana.
“Did she leave of her own free will? Surgent said. “Or was she really abducted?” We haven’t been able to prove it yet. »
Fontana police had not received any reports of domestic violence at the home prior to the murder, Surgent said, and child services had not been involved with the family. Neither parent was on probation or parole at the time and investigators believe Savannah was home-schooled while living with her father, who police say enjoyed camping in the desert and mountains in his van.
An intense search continues for a father on the run with his 15-year-old daughter in an Amber Alert investigation that crosses multiple counties and now possibly other states. Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News on September 26, 2022.
On Monday, witnesses saw Martinez walking in Fontana when Graziano picked her up in his truck. Surgent said it was unclear if she was forced into the vehicle or if she got in alone.
“And that’s immediately when they started arguing and screaming and domestic violence was happening,” he said.
Martinez got out of the truck — potentially to escape — and Graziano opened fire on her with a handgun, hitting her repeatedly, Surgent said. The shooting in the street near a primary school during the morning drop-off forced students and parents to take cover.
Graziano fled the scene and drove to pick up Savannah, who was elsewhere at the time — likely wherever they had been that day, Surgent said. The son was at the family home at the time and was not involved.
The following day, a 911 caller reported seeing the suspect’s Nissan Frontier around Barstow, nearly 112 kilometers north of Fontana.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies located the van and chased it down the freeway approximately 70 miles to Hesperia. Throughout the chase, Graziano — and possibly his daughter, too — were “constantly shooting deputies” with a rifle through the back window of the truck, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said Tuesday during of a press conference.
“There may be indications that the passenger in the vehicle, who we believe to be Savannah, may also have been involved in some of the firefights,” Dicus said.
A shootout in Hesperia ensued, with dozens of bullets flying. Savannah ran towards the deputies – who didn’t realize it was her – in the chaos and fell amid gunfire. She was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly before noon.
Her father was found in the driver’s seat and pronounced dead at the scene.
The sheriff’s department declined to release any additional information Wednesday.
In Fontana, mourners brought flowers, balloons and candles to a small memorial.
Fontana police told NBCLA they searched a storage unit which is owned by Anthony Graziano. In his storage unit, detectives say they found firearms, body armor, thousands of cartridges and even smoke bombs.
“All of the handguns were legally owned but were seized as evidence in the investigation,” Fontana Police Officer Daniel Romero said.
Kelly Layne, a friend of the suspect, said she spoke to Anthony Graziano last week. He said he was struggling and going through the divorce.
“He was having issues with her. They weren’t getting along. I told him to keep his head down and focus on his kids,” Layne said.