Fontana Residents Recall Trauma of 2022 Deadly Deputy Shooting

Fontana Residents Recall Trauma of 2022 Deadly Deputy Shooting

A Fontana community is reliving the trauma from a series of deadly events in 2022 that started with a man allegedly killing his estranged wife and kidnapping his 15-year-old daughter and ended with a violent shootout with authorities.

Newly released video shows the moment Savannah Graziano, who was abducted by her father, Anthony John Graziano, was shot and killed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies as she followed their instructions and ran toward them away from her father. 

Fontana residents say what happened in September 2022 was still very much seared in their memory. And the footage released this week is once again reminding them of the heartbreak they collectively felt.

“It’s kind of like a ‘Where were you that day?’ thing,” Andrea Rios, who lives in Fontana, says as she recalls the chain of events. 

“That’s such a traumatic clip,” Rios said after watching the deputy’s body cam footage, in which a deputy is frantically urging other deputies to stop firing their weapon as the teen walked out of her kidnapper’s car. “The way you can hear the emotion in the [deputy’s] voice – what I don’t understand is why he was calling her.”

The same footage shows the 15-year-old was struck by bullets as she got out of the passenger side and moved toward a nearby deputy.

While the deadly shooting is under investigation by the California Department of Justice, one security expert notes the video can help the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department to adjust its use of force policy.

“Instinctively I knew that there were mistakes made,” Ed Obayashi, an independent investigator for officer shootings, said. “Maybe they were honest mistakes. We don’t know.”

While San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said in a statement that he is unable to release further details of the investigation, he said his agency had turned over all information to the state DOJ.

“My hope is that this video will be watched in its entirety and provide insight into the unfortunate events that unfolded that day,” Dicus said in the statement. “There has been speculation and misrepresentations about this case, and I would ask the public to allow the DOJ to complete its independent investigation before reaching a conclusion.”  

Those affected by the violence say they hope Savannah’s death leads to change.

“It’s a big teachable moment for future circumstances like this,” Rios said. “This is a big training moment.”

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