Family of Man Pulled From Truck That Almost Hit People Outside Bar Pleads With Witnesses

Melguin Lopez Santos, 40, was behind the wheel of a truck that investigators say narrowly missed people on a sidewalk in Hawthorne.

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Family members of a man who died after an altercation with a group of people outside a Hawthorne bar asked on Monday for witnesses to come forward to help with the investigation. 

The coroner identified the man, who was possibly beaten to death by people who pulled him from a truck after a crash, as Melguin Lopez Santos, 40, of Los Angeles. The truck he was driving early Saturday morning narrowly missed people standing on a sidewalk outside the bar. 

An autopsy was pending to determine the cause of his death.

Family members who spoke with NBCLA Sunday asked anyone with information about the altercation to come forward. 

"It's not right," said wife Monica Perez. "I just feel like somebody's hiding something. 

"If anybody has any information, please come forward. We're hurting."

Hawthorne police received several calls at about 12:10 a.m. Saturday regarding a vehicle that nearly hit several people on the sidewalk in the 14200 block of Hawthorne Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported. The driver was involved in an argument earlier inside the business and was asked to leave, but returned, driving his truck onto the sidewalk, sheriff's officials said.

The truck eventually struck a tree.

People attempted to take the driver out of the vehicle, but the driver was able to accelerate and drove his truck into a nearby building, according to an LASD statement. 

“Patrons again took the driver out of the vehicle, and a physical altercation ensued, at this time Hawthorne police arrived on scene,” the statement continued. 

Hawthorne officers arrived within minutes of the call and found Lopez Santos on the ground suffering from apparent blunt force trauma — a beating, sheriff's officials said. Paramedics attempted life-saving measures but he died at the scene.

Sheriff's officials said four men were considered prime suspects, but no descriptions were released and no further information was available. Sheriff's homicide detectives were assisting Hawthorne police with the investigation, officials said.

Anyone with information was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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