A California teenager whose father was believed to have kidnapped her in September 2022 was fatally shot by deputies as she followed their commands, and she didn’t appear to be wearing tactical gear as officials previously claimed, newly released video shows.

Savannah Graziano, 15, was abducted by her father, Anthony John Graziano, 45, after he allegedly killed his estranged wife, Savannah’s mother, on Sept. 26, 2022, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

An Amber Alert issued for Savannah after the homicide was discovered described her father as an “armed and dangerous” suspect. When deputies found his truck, a car chase and a shootout ensued, resulting in the deaths of Savannah and her father.

After the shooting, Sheriff Shannon Dicus said that a person believed to be Savannah had gotten out of the passenger side of the vehicle wearing tactical gear and that evidence suggested she was a “participant in shooting at our deputies.”

However, newly released video from the incident doesn’t show the teen in tactical gear, and it reveals she was obeying deputies’ instructions to approach them.

The video, which the sheriff’s department released Friday to Southern California News Group in response to a California Public Records Act request, shows Savannah ducked down low and was slowly approaching deputies when she was struck by officer fire. 

Efforts to reach multiple members of the Graziano family for comment on the new video were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The shooting

A 911 caller reported seeing Anthony John Graziano’s suspect pickup truck in the area of Highway 395 and Highway 58 around Barstow the morning of Sept. 27, 2022, the sheriff’s office said at the time.

Deputies located the pickup truck and chased it on the highway for around 45 miles. Throughout the chase, someone from the vehicle was “constantly shooting back at the deputies” through the rear window, Dicus said, putting rounds through a patrol car’s windshield and disabling a second patrol vehicle.

Savannah Graziano.Fontana Police Department via AP

The pickup truck became disabled on the shoulder of a highway in the city of Hesperia, and the shootout began. A passenger later confirmed as Savannah got out of the vehicle. Dicus said at the time of the incident that the girl was wearing tactical gear as she got out of a truck’s passenger side and ran toward the sheriff’s deputies and that she fell to the ground amid the gunfire. The deputies didn’t initially realize it was Savannah running toward them, he said, because she was wearing a helmet and a military-style vest.

The new video, taken from an aerial view, showed the white pickup truck reversing before it drove on the shoulder of the road. 

A person got out of the passenger side of the vehicle as a voice from the overhead helicopter said: “The female juvie is out. She’s out on the passenger side. Does anyone else have eyes on the vehicle?”

Though the video was taken from a distance, Savannah didn’t appear to be wearing a vest or tactical gear.

The video showed Savannah took several steps toward a patrol vehicle, then crouched and paused. Several deputies were visible next to the patrol vehicle, firearms in hand. 

Seconds later, Savannah rose up and took a few more steps, then her body is blurred in the video — marking the moment she most likely was shot. The voice in the audio is then heard saying, “Oh, no,” as a flock of more deputies rushed forward to the nearest patrol car.

The sheriff’s office also released a belt recording from the deputy closest to Savannah when she got out of the truck. He is heard repeatedly yelling: “Passenger, get out! Passenger, get out!” and “Come here! Come here! Come to me; come to me!”

“Stop! Stop shooting her. He’s in the car!” the deputy shouted. “She’s OK! He’s in the car. Stop!” 

Based on that audio, it appears Savannah was obeying the deputy’s instructions to come toward him when she was shot.

Deputies immediately administered medical aid, and Savannah was taken to a hospital, where she died of her injuries. 

Her father was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Both Graziano and Savannah were struck by deputy rounds and died of their injuries,” an introduction to one of the videos said, according to The Press-Enterprise newspaper of Riverside, which obtained the video.

The California Justice Department took over the investigation into the shooting. 


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