A 15-year-old boy died and three other teens were injured when a suspect fleeing the scene of a stabbing crashed into a crowd of students on the sidewalk near Westlake High School Tuesday, authorities said.
The incident unfolded at around 2:48 p.m. when officers with the Simi Valley Police Department responded to a Walmart, located at 255 W. Cochran St., on reports of a customer stabbing a store employee.
“The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived, but witnesses provided information about the suspect’s vehicle, a white Toyota Camry missing the front bumper, along with the license plate number,” a news release from Simi Valley PD stated.
The stabbing victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.
As Simi Valley police were investigating the stabbing, Ventura County deputies responded to reports of an “injury collision” at around 3:40 p.m. near the intersection of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Lakeview Canyon Road involving the stabbing suspect’s vehicle.
Officials said the suspect plowed into the teens in what they believe was an intentional act.
A 15-year-old boy, later identified by a GoFundMe set up for his mother as Wesley Welling, suffered fatal injuries. A 16-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and another 15-year-old boy were taken to the hospital in various conditions, a VSCO official said.
The 14-year-old girl is still in the hospital in critical condition, while the other two teens have been released, said Deputy Wendell Campbell.
All four were students at Westlake High School, according to officials with the Conejo Valley Unified School District.
A vigil of candles and flowers was growing outside the school on Wednesday morning. Fellow students mourned their loss classmate and struggled to process what they’d seen.
“I saw people giving the kid CPR,” said WHS student Dulce Vasquez. “It was awful. I feel bad for the kid for losing his life.”
Thousand Oaks resident Scarlett Shue called the situation “one of the most heartbreaking and traumatizing thing for all the students around.”
“It could have been anyone,” she added.
Welling’s mother, Kelly Welling, told KTLA she arrived as CPR was being performed on her son.
“It’s literally the worst call, the worst nightmare that any parent can deal with,” she said.
“During this time of unimaginable loss, our thoughts and prayers remain with these students, their families, friends, and the entire Warrior community,” district officials said.
The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Austin Eis, was also taken to the hospital with unknown injuries. He was booked into a Ventura County jail early Wednesday morning, jail records show.
He is being held in lieu of $5 million bail and is expected to be arraigned on charges of murder, attempted murder, resisting a police officer, brandishing and assault with a deadly weapon on Thursday, according to Campbell.
After the stabbing at the Walmart but before the crash, authorities said Eis was involved in a “domestic dispute” in Camarillo, where he allegedly brandished a firearm. No injuries were reported there.
The motive for the spree remains unknown, though Deputy Niki Phongpitag said Eis is a former Westlake High School student.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the charges the suspect is facing.