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Sheriff: Evidence points to teen girl at center of Amber Alert participating in shooting at deputies

CHP / KABC

A teen girl killed while her fugitive father was involved in a shootout with law enforcement is believed to have participated in shooting at deputies.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus announced that he was informed by detectives that evidence suggests that Savannah Graziano, 15, was a participant in the shootout Tuesday on the I-15 in Hesperia.

Savannah's father, Anthony Graziano, a wanted murder suspect, was also killed in the shootout.

Police revealed on Tuesday that during the shootout, Savannah wearing a tactical helmet and vest, got out and ran toward deputies amid a hail of gunfire.

Authorities are investigating whether she was shot by deputies or her father, or both.

Police have said the only weapon retrieved at the scene was a rifle in the truck, where Anthony Graziano died. There is police video of the shootout that authorities are reviewing.

While many questions remain regarding Tuesday’s gunbattle, police in Fontana — where Graziano’s wife, Tracy Martinez, was killed Monday — offered some details about the family’s life before the bloodshed.

On Tuesday, authorities revealed new details that Savannah had been living with her father out of his pickup truck and hotels for weeks before he killed his estranged wife.

Anthony Graziano had moved out of the family’s home a month or two before the killing, as the couple went through a divorce, Fontana Sgt. Christian Surgent told The Associated Press. Savannah Graziano left with her father, while her younger brother stayed with their mother.

Police issued an Amber Alert after Martinez’s killing, saying Savannah Graziano had been abducted by her father. Now, detectives are trying to determine whether or not she was forced into leaving Fontana.

“Did she go willingly?” Surgent said. “Or was she actually abducted? We haven’t been able to prove that just yet.”

Fontana police had not received any reports of domestic violence at the home before this week, 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 being home-schooled while she lived with her father, who police said liked to camp out in the desert and mountains in his pickup truck.

On Monday, witnesses saw Martinez walking in Fontana when Graziano picked her up in his truck. Surgent said it was not clear whether she was forced into the vehicle or got in on her own.

“And immediately that’s when they started arguing and yelling and domestic violence was occurring,” he said.

Martinez got out of the truck and Graziano opened fire with a handgun, striking her multiple times, Surgent said. The shooting on the street near an elementary school during morning drop-off forced students and parents to duck for cover.

Graziano fled and drove to get Savannah, who likely was wherever they had been staying that day, Surgent said. The son was at the family’s home at the time and was not involved.

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Article Topic Follows: News

Jesus Reyes

Associated Press

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