Tragedy struck at a Southern California high school where a man fleeing from police seemed to intentionally crash into a group of teenage students waiting for their school bus, killing one of them and injuring three others.
The deceased victim was identified as 15-year-old Wesley Welling, who was struck by a vehicle being driven by 24-year-old Austin Eis while attempting to evade police just outside of Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California.
Last Tuesday, April 18, the Simi Valley Police Department responded to a call at a local Walmart where reports state a customer was stabbed. By the time the police arrived on the scene, the suspect had fled, but bystanders were able to give a description of his vehicle, as well as his license plate.
“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,” the Simi Valley Police reported.
Attempting to track the suspect down, the police received another report about an hour after the stabbing about an “injury collision,” per KTLA News out of Los Angeles. Witnesses suggested that the maneuver appeared to be intentional.
“Eyewitnesses said that they actually saw the suspect make an intentional move to drive his vehicle up on to the sidewalk,” according to a statement given by PI Officer and Deputy of the Thousand Oaks Police Department Wendell Campbell.
The next day, Eis was taken to the hospital for unknown injuries before being taken into custody and charged with murder, attempted murder, resisting a police officer, and brandishing and assault with a deadly weapon, according to KTLA.
In addition to Welling being killed as a result of the incident, three other students were hospitalized, with two being released soon after and one, a 14-year-old girl, remaining in critical condition.
As the students of Westlake High School mourn the horrific events that transpired just after school a week ago, Welling’s mother, Kelly Welling, was on scene before they pronounced her son dead.
“I pulled up to the scene and they were still doing CPR on him,” Kelly told KTLA. “It’s literally the worst call, the worst nightmare that any parent can deal with.”
Wesley was preparing to celebrate his mother’s birthday on Tuesday as told by a GoFundMe set up by a friend who is trying to raise money for Kelly and their family in this time of grief. They have already raised over $250,000, which is nearly 20 times as much as the initial goal they were seeking.
The motives of both the stabbing and the car incident enacted by Eis remain unknown.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wesley family and the entire Thousand Oaks community.