Pico Rivera, CA – A 13-year-old girl was killed and her eight-year-old brother remains hospitalized after a carjacker forced his way into their vehicle on Sunday and sped off with them still trapped inside, police said.
The attack occurred at approximately 2 p.m. on July 5 in the area of Lindsey Avenue and Whittier Boulevard, KABC reported.
Isabella Cortes, 13, was waiting in the family’s van with her siblings, ages 18, 11, and eight, while their parents ran into a local restaurant to pick up food for them, according to ABC News.
The vehicle was running at the time in order for the children to sit in the air conditioning, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LACSD) said.
As they were waiting, 26-year-old Jose Aguilar suddenly jumped into the driver’s seat and yelled at the children to get out, KABC reported.
The 18-year-old briefly fought with the suspect before scrambling out of the van along with her 11-year-old brother.
They both suffered minor injuries during the altercation, LACSD Lieutenant Barry Hall told KABC.
But Isabella and her eight-year-old brother weren’t able to get out of the van fast enough.
“Before the children were able to safely exit the vehicle, the suspect drove off from the location at a high rate of speed,” the LACSD said, according to KABC. “Immediately afterwards, the side doors to the van slid open.”
The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when the little boy was “forcefully ejected from the van,” Lt. Hall said.
A second later, Isabella was also ejected.
Police said the minivan was traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour at the time, according to KNBC.
Isabella collided with a stationary object, and died of her injuries at the scene, KABC reported.
It is unclear if she was shoved out of the van, or if she attempted to jump to safety, police said.
Several miles later, Aguilar crashed into another vehicle and took off on foot towards the Whittier Narrow Recreation area, according to KABC.
He then allegedly attempted to carjack a vehicle from a couple with a child.
The male driver fought with the violent suspect as local fruit vendors rushed to his aid, police said.
They managed to detain Aguilar until LACSD deputies arrived and took him into custody, KABC reported.
“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, according to ABC News.
According to police, the suspect was already on probation for a slew of prior offenses when he stole the family’s van, KABC reported.
He was also recently charged with vandalism and felony possession of a dirk or dagger, but had been released without bail.
Aguilar now faces additional charges of kidnapping, murder and carjacking, KNBC reported.
Isabella’s eight-year-old brother remains hospitalized with major injuries, according to KABC.
His current condition has not been released, ABC News reported.