A young father deliberately slammed his pickup truck into the bedroom of his newborn daughter and her teenage mother, killing both before witnesses rushed to free them from furniture and debris, police in Los Angeles say.
The deadly crash came after Eduardo Villarreal, 21, got into an argument with the mother over custody of their 10-day-old baby at a family gathering, police said. Villarreal grabbed the infant and ran down a street before another family member caught up to him and persuaded Villarreal to give her back.
He said he was going to harm himself and the girl, then “he took off to get his mind right”, police Detective Joe Rios said. Authorities said Villarreal returned moments later and aimed his speeding Cadillac Escalade at the house, hopped a curb and ploughed into the bedroom. “He intentionally drove the vehicle into the house,” Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said.
Police did not release the names of the victims, but Eduardo Bonilla, the uncle of the young mother, identified her as Trudy Bonilla and the 10-day-old baby as Naomi. The uncle said he had spoken with several family members who had been home at the time and heard the argument involving Villarreal.
“He was saying he was going to kill the daughter and the mom,” Eduardo Bonilla said while standing in a yard near the crash site. “They had argued before, but nothing like that.” After the crash, Villarreal told investigators he had meant to commit suicide but not hurt anyone else, Rios said.
Police expected to book Villareal on murder charges.
Trudy Bonilla’s other child, a three-year-old who is unrelated to the driver, was in the room during the crash but was uninjured, the uncle said.