- A Southern California was pulled from his truck and beaten to death, authorities say.
- Police arrived to find the man beaten and on the ground.
- The man reportedly attempted to strike pedestrians with his truck.
A Southern California driver who witnesses said was attempting to crash into pedestrians on a sidewalk was pulled from his truck and beaten to death, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department says.
The tumult began early Saturday morning when the man was asked to leave Rock It Sports Lounge and Grill in Hawthorne, a city of 90,000 people 15 miles south of Los Angeles, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The man left but soon returned, driving his truck onto the sidewalk and nearly striking several customers, the statement said. Callers to police said the driver was “attempting to strike people,” the statement said. The driver lost control of the truck and hit a tree.
“Surrounding patrons then attempted to take the driver out of his vehicle, but he accelerated and drove his truck into a nearby building,” the statement said. “Patrons again took the driver out of his vehicle, and a physical altercation ensued.”
Police arrived on the scene a short time later.
“Hawthorne police officers saw the driver lying on the ground, suffering what appeared to be blunt force trauma,” the statement said. “Paramedics provided life-saving measures, but he was pronounced deceased on scene.”
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as Melguin Lopez Santos, 40, of Los Angeles. No arrests had been made, but four people are cooperating in the investigation, authorities said.
Monica Perez, wife of Lopez Santos, tearfully urged anyone with information on her husband’s death to come forward.
“It’s unfair, I feel like somebody knows something,” Perez told KNBC-TV. “We’re hurting here.”
Lt. Hugo Reynaga of the sheriff’s department told the Daily Breeze that Lopez Santos was told to leave the bar for being a nuisance. The ensuing incident was captured on grainy surveillance video, and the fight was partially obscured, Reynaga said.
“You could see there was a fight going on, but you couldn’t tell who was doing what,” he said.
Detectives were waiting for the results of the autopsy to see whether Lopez Santos may have suffered a medical issue during the fight that led to his death, Reynaga said, adding that the crashes “weren’t that impactful.”