A 13-year-old girl has died after a violent carjacking took place while she and her three siblings waited in her family’s car as their parents went into a restaurant to pick up food.
The incident occurred at approximately 2 p.m. in Pico Rivera, California, when the family parked their van next to a restaurant located near the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Lindsey Avenue and the parents ran into the establishment to pick up food for the family, leaving the four children, ages 18, 13, 11 and 8, waiting inside the vehicle with the air conditioning running, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
It was then that the suspect, 26-year-old Jose Aguilar, suddenly jumped into the vehicle and ordered all four of the kids to jump out.
“Once the suspect got into the car, the 18-year-old girl fought with the suspect briefly and then she came out of the van,” said Lt. Barry Hall of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as he addressed the media after the incident. “The doors were open, because he accelerated both doors came open on the van. She got pushed out of the van or jumped out of the van as did her 11-year-old brother.”
The 18-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother both sustained minor injuries during the altercation with Aguilar.
Aguilar then took off down Whittier Avenue at a high rate of speed of up to 60 mph, according to ABC News’ Los Angeles station KABC, with the 13-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy still in the vehicle.
“The vehicle continued westbound and that is when the 8-year-old boy and the 13-year-old girl came out of the vehicle,” Lt. Hall continued. “Both of them sustained major injuries and the 13-year-old girl died at the scene.”
It is unclear whether the two kids were pushed out of the vehicle or decided to jump themselves.
Authorities say the 13-year-old girl struck a stationary object and died at the scene while her 8-year-old brother was taken to hospital with major injuries. His current condition has not been disclosed.
Aguilar continued driving for several miles after the last two children were out of the car before slamming into another vehicle and attempting to carjack another a car near the Whitter Narrow Recreation Center with a father, mother and child inside.
According to reports, a fight then ensued between the driver of that car and Aguilar when local street vendors who were selling fruit saw what was happening and came to the rescue by ultimately helping to detain the suspect until deputies arrived to arrest him.
“The dad who was trying to buy the fruit jumps back into the car, chokes the guy out and that is when the fruit guys came up and helped him, pulled him out of the car and I believe they actually tied him up and detained him for the deputies, “Lt. Hall said as he addressed the media.
Aguilar was then arrested and taken into custody. According to KABC, investigators say that Aguilar had recently been arrested and released on zero bail for felony possession of a dirk/dagger and a vandalism charge and was also on probation for a list of other charges.
The tragic incident has left the community in shock and the family mourning, searching for answers as one of their children is now gone and another remains in the hospital with major injuries.
Said witness Michelle Vaca: “When I found out it was a child, it touched my heart because I am a mother myself and I can just imagine what her mother and father are going through knowing that they lost their child.”