The coroner has released the name of a man who was allegedly beaten to death in Hawthorne by people who pulled him from a truck that just missed striking several patrons standing on a sidewalk in front of a business.
Melguin Lopez Santos, 40, was a Los Angeles resident, according to the coroner’s office. An autopsy was pending to determine the cause of his death.
Hawthorne police received several calls at about 12:10 a.m. Saturday regarding a vehicle driving on a sidewalk attempting to strike several people who were standing on the sidewalk in the 14200 block of Hawthorne Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported.
The motorist, now identified as Lopez Santos, had gotten into a verbal altercation earlier inside the business and was asked to leave, but returned, driving his truck onto the sidewalk where he nearly struck several patrons, sheriff’s officials said.
The man eventually lost control of the truck and it struck a tree.
“Surrounding patrons attempted to take the driver out of the vehicle, but the driver was able to accelerate and drove his truck into a nearby building,” according to an LASD statement. “Patrons again took the driver out of the vehicle, and a physical altercation ensued, at this time Hawthorne police arrived on scene.”
Hawthorne officers arrived within minutes of the call and found Lopez Santos on the ground suffering from apparent blunt force trauma, sheriff’s officials said. Paramedics attempted life-saving measures but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sheriff’s officials said four men were considered prime suspects, but now descriptions were released and no further information was available.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives were assisting Hawthorne police with the investigation, officials said.
Anyone with information was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at lacrimestoppers.org.