Driver in 4-Year-Old Girl's Hit-Run Death Turns Self in: Police

A man suspected of being behind the wheel of a car that fatally struck a 4-year-old Southern California girl and drove off was arrested after he surrendered at a police station, officials said Saturday.

Shant Badleean, 55, of Glendale was accompanied by his family when he turned himself in at the Glendale Police Department, said Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.

Badleean was booked on a felony hit-and-run charge, police said. His bail was set at $50,000.

The news came as family and friends held a candlelight vigil for Violeta Khachaturyan. A moment of silence was held for her about 7:30 p.m. to coincide with the announcement by police.

Loved ones prayed, sang and burned incense - Armenian traditions when someone dies.

"I believe she is in heaven playing with the angels right now,” said said neighbor Mases Allhiveirdia.

Khachaturyan was struck about 4:55 p.m. Friday when she ran into the street after her mother, police said. She was hit by a sedan and sent flying into a parked vehicle while the car drove away.

The light-colored sedan was traveling west in the 1200 block of East Wilson at the time of the collision, according to a statement released by the Glendale police Saturday.

“Yesterday we didn't know what color the car was and today we hear something that no one ever thought we would in this short period of time. So of course it's definitely a satisfying feeling from the family,” said Arshak Bareghamyan, a family friend.


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Neighbors left flowers, candles and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial in Glendale in honor of the little girl.

"It's a parent’s worst nightmare, we feel for them and if there's anything that we can do to help them out, we're more than willing to," said Karla Mnatsakanyan, who did not know the family but showed up to the vigil to lend her support.

The Glendale Police Officers Association was accepting donations on behalf of the Khachaturyan family. Checks can be made out to "GPOA Cops for Kids" and should indicate that the donation is for the family. Anyone with questions about donating can call 818-246-9053.

"This tragic event weighs heavy on the hearts of all our police and fire personnel who were involved in the response and treatment of little Violeta," Chief Robert Castro said.

NBC4's Asher Klein and Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

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