A woman was killed after a driver slammed into her, several other pedestrians and occupied cars in Long Beach on Saturday evening, and new information from police indicates that the crash may have been intentional.
Officers first responded to the area of Aquarium Way and Shoreline Drive at 6:34 p.m. on reports of a collision involving multiple vehicles and pedestrians.
Upon arrival, first responders discovered a woman lying in the roadway “who appeared to have been struck by a vehicle,” the Long Beach Police Department said.
Long Beach Fire Department personnel rendered medical aid to the woman, but she succumbed to her injuries at the scene.
She was identified as Romelia Cuarenta Aguilar, 60, of Long Beach.
Juan Cuarenta, the victim’s brother, told KTLA that his sister had stopped by his food truck for dinner and that the family is utterly shocked by the incident.
“No one expects something like this to happen. What else can I say? She was my sister. I adore her and love her very much and I’m mourning her death,” he said.
Five other victims of the possibly intentional crash were also transported to nearby hospitals, where authorities said that they were in stable condition.
“During the preliminary investigation, officers discovered evidence leading them to believe the collision was possibly intentional,” Long Beach police said in a release. “Detectives determined the suspect, driving a Chevrolet Bolt, was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Shoreline Drive at Aquarium Way at a high rate of speed when he drove through a red light and struck the pedestrians and multiple occupied vehicles without slowing.”
Due to the “suspicious circumstances” of the incident and current international events, the FBI responded to the scene.
“At this time, there is no indication that this incident was an act of terror nor associated with the current violence in Israel,” authorities said. “However, the investigation is ongoing.”
The suspect remained on scene and was identified as 46-year-old Los Angeles resident Khalid Yagobbi.
After receiving treatment at a local hospital, Yagobbi was taken to the Long Beach City Jail, where he was booked for murder. He is being held on $2,000,000 bail.
“She did not deserve to die like this,” Cuarenta said of his sister. “He has to pay for what he’s done and for the injustice and the harm that he’s done to our family.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been organized to help the family cover the cost of the funeral.
A motive for the crash has not been established.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Homicide Detectives Sean Magee and Juan Carlos Reyes at 562-570-7244.
To submit tips anonymously, call L.A. Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit their website.