A 13-year-old girl was killed and her 8-year-old brother suffered major injuries Sunday when they were ejected from their family’s minivan during a carjacking in Pico Rivera.
The family of six was at La Mano Tortilleria in the 9200 block of Whittier Boulevard at about 2 p.m. Sunday, said Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez. The parents went into the business, leaving their four children — two girls, ages 18 and 13, and two boys, ages 11 and 8 -- inside the van with the engine running and air conditioning on.
As they waited in the backseat of the van, a 26-year-old man got into the driver’s seat of the van and told the children to get out, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Before the children could get out, the carjacker started driving, setting off a tragic chain of events at several locations in the southeast Los Angeles County community.
“Immediately afterwards, the side doors to the van slid open and the 18-year-old female briefly fought with the suspect, before she jumped from the van,'' the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “At about the same time, the 11-year-old male was able to jump out of the van to safety with both sustaining minor injuries.”
Local news from across Southern California
The driver continued west on Whittier Boulevard at a high rate of speed and the 8-year-old boy was ejected from the van at Deland Avenue, suffering major injuries.
The van was traveling at about 60 mph when the 13-year-old girl - identified as Isabella Cortes -- was ejected at the intersection of Lindsey Avenue and Whittier Boulevard. She struck an object and died at the scene, the sheriff’s department said.
Balloons and other items were left at a sidewalk memorial Monday.
The driver continued on Whittier Boulevard when he struck another vehicle at Rosemead. Boulevard, disabling the van, Navarro-Suarez said. He ran from the vehicle toward the Whittier-Narrows Recreation Area where he saw a man get out of a vehicle and he tried to carjack that one. The driver fought back because his wife and child were still inside the vehicle and it moved about 100 feet before crashing into a bridge, she said.
The carjacker attempted to run back to the disabled van, but street vendors detained him until deputies arrived.
He was identified as 26-year-old Jose Elias Aguilar, of Los Angeles. Aguilar suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment before he was booked on suspicion of carjacking, murder and kidnapping, Navarro-Suarez said.