A woman was struck and killed by a car in San Diego's City Heights community Wednesday in a hit-and-run that homicide investigators believe was intentional.
The deadly crash happened just after 10 a.m. in an alley the 4100 block of Wilson Avenue. A driver struck a woman in her late 20s, the impact trapping her underneath the vehicle. The woman from suffering from extensive injuries to her torso.
Witnesses told San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers that a group of suspects – possibly one woman and two men, all in their mid-20s and possibly Hispanic – exited the car and ran away from the scene of the crash. The suspects were last seen sprinting southbound away from the alley.
Police said one man, described as heavyset, may have had blood on his shirt. The female suspect may have also been covered in blood.
Firefighters and medics with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) quickly got to work rescuing the woman pinned underneath the car. Aerial footage showed a white sedan at the center of the scene and the lifeless victim.
At 10:32 a.m., SDFD officials confirmed the woman had been pulled from underneath the vehicle but did not survive her injuries.
Initially, police thought the crash was an accident. However, after speaking with witnesses and examining the scene, SDPD officials determined the hit-and-run appeared deliberate, and homicide detectives were called in to take over the investigation.
Detectives believe the car was used as a weapon to kill the victim.
"We're thinking that this could've been a deliberate act," said SDPD Acting Lt. Manny Del Toro, of the Homicide Unit, adding that the case involves "suspicious circumstances."
No one else was injured.
The deadly incident is under investigation. Police said blood was found in several areas inside the suspects’ vehicle.
The victim’s name has not yet been released.
One witness told police he heard a confrontation in the alley just before the woman was hit by the car. Two Good Samaritans that heard the accident ran out to help the victim and call 911.
Detectives were in the area for hours gathering evidence and speaking with witnesses and residents. As of 4 p.m., officers expected to remain on scene for several more hours.
Neighbor Berri Krida-Pech lives on the other side of the alley on Wilson Avenue. She told NBC 7 she has lived in the area for 16 years and had never seen the suspects’ vehicle there. She said the alley where the hit-and-run happened is rarely used by motorists.
"It makes me a little nervous," resident Berri Krida-Pech told NBC 7.
Krida-Pech said she was first alerted to the crash after she heard police sirens blaring down her street.
"I feel sorry for the person," she said. "And I'm sorry that it happened."
She called the suspects cowardly for running away after hitting the victim.
Del Toro said this case does not appear, at this time, to gang-related.
Anyone with information can call the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.