A prayer vigil was held Wednesday night at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village to honor the life of Wesley Welling, a 15-year-old boy who was killed during a string of violent incidents that culminated with a car crash in Thousand Oaks Tuesday afternoon.
Welling was killed after he was hit by a vehicle outside Westlake High School. The teen was in a crowd of other students that was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by a man accused in a stabbing at a Walmart in Simi Valley and a domestic incident in Camarillo earlier in the day.
The suspect has been identified as Austin Allen Eis, a 24-year-old transient who authorities say was experiencing homelessness.
Investigators in Ventura County believe Eis intentionally plowed into a group of students outside Westlake High School, the same high school he attended and graduated from several years ago.
“I pulled up to the scene and they were still doing CPR on him,” Kelly Welling, Wesley’s mother, told KTLA. “Literally the worst call … the worst nightmare that any parent can deal with.”
Prior to the crash, Eis is believed to have stabbed a Walmart employee in Simi Valley. About 40 minutes later, he allegedly entered a family member’s home without permission and brandished a firearm before fleeing the scene.
The crash that took Welling’s life happened only minutes later. Three other teens were injured in the crash, as well as Eis, who was hospitalized briefly before being booked into jail to face charges of murder, attempted murder, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges.
“We’re hurting so much right now, the whole family is,” Ashley Huizinga, the teen’s aunt, told KTLA. “The family has lost so much. We lost a family member last week, his aunt, and now we lost Wesley and it’s a lot.”
Huizinga and her children were among the hundreds of people who went Calvary Community Church to pray for Wesley and his grieving family.
Diana Jupovics’ daughters went to school with the 15-year-old.
“I just think it’s important, we all think it’s important, to show that we’re here and that we are going to do whatever it takes to get through this,” she said.
In a GoFundMe page set up by a friend of the family, Welling is described as “a wonderful son, brother, friend. Who touched the lives of those around him.”
He died on his mother’s birthday.
The investigation into the circumstances of Welling’s death remain under investigation and Eis remains in custody on $5 million bail. He is due in court Thursday at 1:30 p.m., according to jail records.