A pedestrian was hit by a car Wednesday afternoon during a vigil for a bicyclist who had been fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver a day earlier at the same location in South L.A., video from the scene showed.
Now the Los Angeles Police Department is looking for the drivers and vehicles involved in both hit-and-run crashes, and authorities say the vigil itself became violent and turned into an assault on an officer, which is also under investigation.
Pedestrians and cyclists had gathered at the intersection of Normandie and Manchester avenues for the vigil remembering cyclist Frederick Frazier, 22, who was killed almost exactly 24 hours earlier after being struck by the driver of a white Porsche Cayenne that fled the scene.
About 100 cyclists were at the vigil, and some drivers appeared upset that they had difficulty getting through the intersection. Several vehicles, including an apparent older-model gold Toyota sedan, were seen trying to push through the cyclists.
The cyclists “basically took over the intersection” and blocked cars, interfering with traffic, LAPD Capt. Rafael Ramirez said.
When the Toyota began moving through the crowd, some cyclists appeared to punch at the car, according to KTLA reporter who was covering the vigil.
At one point, a woman got out of the vehicle and appeared to slap or punch a female cyclist — another moment that was captured on video. She appeared to have a male passenger in her vehicle.
The Toyota then took off but returned, speeding through a red light at the intersection and striking the pedestrian, who went flying.
The KTLA news crew at the scene recorded video of the crash. The crew’s news photographer, Gary Reyes, was nearly struck by the Toyota, which continued westbound on Manchester Avenue after hitting the pedestrian, identified as Quatrell Stallings.
Stallings, who was apparently a friend of Frazier, was able to get up and limped toward the sidewalk, where others ran to help him, the video showed.
He appeared to be conscious, at least initially, but was visibly bleeding from the head. He was treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital.
Other pedestrians and a dog were narrowly missed by the car, the video showed.
As the Toyota struck the victim, the vehicle passed right by an LAPD patrol SUV that was stopped with its lights flashing.
The sergeant in that LAPD vehicle had happened upon the gathering for Frazier by chance, and he was trying to clear the intersection when cyclists approached his vehicle violently, Ramirez said.
“The group started surrounding him, and then started damaging the police car,” Ramirez said. “Hitting the vehicle, kicking it, throwing the bikes at it, and then also breaking a window and slashing the tires.”
Later Wednesday evening, the sergeant told KTLA that he was primarily concerned for his own safety, but he was aware that a woman had either gotten out of her car or “been taken out.”
“The crowd started turning on her and were striking her,” Sgt. Rudy Ramirez said. “So her safety was also on my mind.”
Ramirez’s SUV circled the intersection, lights on and sirens wailing, trying to clear the roadway. It was when the SUV came to a stop that the Toyota raced through the red light and struck Stallings.
Stallings appeared to have been trying to help keep things under control and was helping a woman and her dogs across the street when he was struck.
The woman with the dogs, Kimberly Van Der Horst, said she initially thought the Toyota driver would miss her and Stallings.
“But she literally runs into us, she separates us. We were so close his arm was wrapped around me, and she snatched him from my side and flipped him,” Van Der Horst said.
The crash follows an uptick in pedestrian traffic deaths in Los Angeles in 2017 amid an ongoing effort — dubbed Vision Zero — to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.
“Hit and runs are already at an epidemic level in LA,” Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Erik Jansen said in a statement to KTLA. “When another happens during a vigil for a bicyclist killed the day before, when are elected officials going to do something for traffic safety? If not now, when?”
The crash occurred about 1:05 p.m., LAPD spokesman Officer Tony Im said.
Im described the vehicle that fled as an older model, tan four-door Honda Accord. But KTLA’s video showed what appeared to be an early-2000s gold Toyota Avalon with a California license plate No. 8BUK639. The passenger side of its windshield appeared shattered after the hit-and-run.
The driver may have been afraid for his or her safety due to the size of the crowd, but that wouldn’t excuse fleeing the scene of a crash, Ramirez said.
“We’re asking for that individual to go to the police station … identify themselves and tell us their side of the story,” the captain said.
On Twitter, LAPD asked people to avoid the area, and described the incidents as a hit-and-run and an “officer needs help call.”
Ramirez described the attack on the police vehicle as an “ADW,” or an assault with a deadly weapon.
Investigators were trying to gather video from nearby businesses and information from witnesses.
Stallings, meanwhile, remained in the hospital as of Wednesday evening. His brother said he was left with head injuries, and his leg and arm were broken, his ribs crushed.
Stallings is expected to survive, his brother said.