HAWTHORNE, Calif. - Newly obtained surveillance video shows the moment a truck drove onto a sidewalk in Hawthorne before an angry crowd pulled the driver out of his vehicle and allegedly beat him to death, authorities say.
The incident happened on Saturday in the 14200 block of Hawthorne Blvd. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the driver of the truck got into a verbal fight inside the Rock It Sports Lounge and had to be asked to leave. The man, later identified as Miguel Lopez Santos, 40, allegedly got into his truck and drove it onto the sidewalk, nearly striking several patrons standing outside the sports bar.
The driver ultimately lost control and hit a tree, authorities said. A crowd of people attempted to take the driver out of his vehicle, but he was able to accelerate and drive his truck into a nearby building, the sheriff's department said.
At that point, patrons took the driver out of the truck and continued fighting with him as Hawthorne police arrived.
Santos suffered blunt-force trauma and died at the scene, authorities said.
Most of the people involved in the fight were interviewed by detectives and then released pending the result of an autopsy.
Detectives are also looking to find out through the autopsy whether Santos may have suffered a medical issue during the fight that led to his death, noting that the crashes "weren’t that impactful."
A coalition of civil rights activists are calling for Hawthorne city officials to introduce a reward for those involved in Santos' beating death.
"We understand Mr. Santos was wrong for his actions. But this mob of angry vigilantes or now killers, who never had the right to beat a man to death. They should have held him for law enforcement officials. Instead, they took vengeance and the law in their own hands," said Najee Ali Director of Project Islamic Hope. "City officials should act swiftly to introduce a reward for anyone helping capture the killer's of Santos to send a strong message that we live in a civilized society that will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands and murdering another citizen."
Relatives of Santos plan to hold a candlelight vigil in his memory on Tuesday night.
Anyone with information was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
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