A Southern California crowd took justice into their own hands over the weekend when a man allegedly tried to run over people on a sidewalk with his truck.
The man was reportedly pulled from the truck after crashing into a building and beaten to death before police could arrive on the scene.
Identified as Melguin Lopez Santos, 40, of Los Angeles, the driver was asked to leave a business early Saturday because he was being a nuisance, the Daily Breeze reported, citing Lt. Hugo Reynaga of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Santos got into an argument with someone outside the business before walking to his truck, Reynaga explained, adding that he then intentionally drove the truck onto the sidewalk, nearly hitting a group of patrons before wedging his truck against a tree. Patrons tried to pull Santos from the vehicle, but he hit the accelerator again and crashed into the corner of a nearby building.
It was at this point that Santos was pulled out of the truck, the newspaper reported, adding that patrons “continued fighting with him” as police arrived.
By the time officers got to the scene, Santo was lying on the ground having succumbed to blunt force trauma, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Reynaga said there was surveillance video of the incident, but the footage was grainy and the fight was partially out of view, being obscured by the truck.
“You could see there was a fight going on, but you couldn’t tell who was doing what,” he said, according to the Breeze.
Some of the patrons involved in the fight were interviewed by detectives and then released, pending the result of the coroner’s autopsy. LAPD detectives were waiting for the autopsy results to see if Santos suffered from a medical issue during the fight that led to his death, Reynaga said. He also noted that the crashes “weren’t that impactful.”
A potentially extenuating factor here is the question of whether a seizure or some other medical issue could have resulted in the erratic driving. On the other hand, some on social media saw it as the “law of the jungle” playing out.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
He’s dead. He can’t be released.
— AndreaS (@Nunny_S31) October 10, 2021
What a terrible comment!
For all we know, he had a seizure, or some other issue and it was all an accident.
Further, you don’t get the death penalty for running people over.
— Heath Durbin (@heath_durbin) October 11, 2021
Justice was not served. It means, “don’t mess around in Hawthorn!” Don’t open that Pandora’s box to vigilantes mobs telling you deserve death.
— Ramkon the Truth Seeker (@ramkon) October 10, 2021
Do we allow this now in our society? Putting the law into our hands? This will cause more chaos and havoc as we continue this behavior. It is absolutely unacceptable both what the driver did in running over people and people to beat the driver to death. This is horrendous 😔
— Clarinel Biol (@BiolClarinel) October 10, 2021
I am glad to see the community get involved.
— Eric Kirkhuff (@EricKirkhuff) October 10, 2021
They broke the law themselves
— Kash Reis (@KashReis) October 10, 2021
Law of the jungle!
— Arturo tapia (@Artapia2011) October 10, 2021
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