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Teen sought in Amber Alert dies in shootout after running toward deputies

Anthony Graziano, suspected of killing his wife and abducting his teenage daughter, led sheriff’s deputies on a chase that ended in gunfire, officials said

Savannah Graziano, believed to have been killed Tuesday in a shootout with law enforcement, shown in an undated photo. (Fontana Police Department/AP)

After police say Anthony Graziano shot his estranged wife in Southern California on Monday morning, an Amber Alert was blasted out saying he was on the run with his 15-year-old daughter, Savannah.

The next morning, someone spotted his Nissan pickup and notified authorities, leading to a vehicle chase that officials say began and ended with gunfire. Graziano was killed in the firefight. Also killed was a passenger who emerged from Graziano’s vehicle in “tactical gear” and ran toward the officers, deputies say.

Investigators say they now believe that person was 15-year-old Savannah.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said the investigation is in its earliest stages, describing a crime scene that spanned multiple cities and stressing several times that all information is preliminary.

Dicus did not say who fired the shots that killed Savannah Graziano but said there were “indications” the 15-year-old girl “may have been also involved in some of the fire exchange,” possibly “firing back at the deputies.” According to the sheriff, at least one firearm — a rifle inside the truck — was found at the scene of the final shootout. He said one deputy was injured by shrapnel but is in stable condition.

The search for 45-year-old Anthony Graziano and his teenage daughter began when police responded to reports of gunfire on Monday about 7:30 a.m. near a Fontana elementary school, which was temporarily placed on lockdown, the Fontana Police Department said in a statement Monday afternoon. Officers found a woman suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and she was later transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Fontana police Sgt. Chris Surgent identified the victim as 45-year-old Tracy Martinez, the Associated Press reported.

Calling the shooting a “domestic violence incident,” Fontana police said the suspect, Anthony Graziano, was “armed and dangerous” and most likely driving a white 2017 Nissan Frontier.

The California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert, saying that Savannah had been abducted and was last seen with Graziano around the time of the Fontana shooting.

On Tuesday about 10:25 a.m., Graziano’s truck was spotted west of Barstow, Dicus said. When deputies arrived, a pursuit ensued and Graziano started shooting, “putting several rounds through the windshield” of a patrol vehicle, Dicus said.

The chase continued eastbound on Highway 58, then southbound on Interstate 15 toward Victorville, as Graziano fired back at deputies the “entire time,” shooting a second law enforcement vehicle and disabling it, Dicus said. Farther south in Hesperia, Graziano drove off the road, stopping as law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions started exchanging gunfire with him, Dicus said.

That’s when a person wearing protective equipment, including a tactical helmet, emerged from the passenger side of the vehicle, ran toward sheriff’s deputies and then fell amid the gunfire, Dicus said. At that point, deputies went in to “clear” the vehicle, where they found Anthony Graziano. When the deputies went to provide medical aid to the person in tactical gear, they realized “this is Savannah” and had her transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead just before noon, Dicus said.

“There may be some information that the passenger was involved in firing back at the deputies,” Dicus said. “And we’re still trying to confirm that at this point.”

Dicus said it will take at least a day before authorities can provide more information about the shooting, but “both Anthony Graziano and Savannah are deceased.

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