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California boy dies when stabbing suspect’s car hits teens

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Posted at 1:32 PM, Apr 19, 2023

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The driver of a car that crashed into a group of Southern California high school students, killing one and injuring three, was arrested for investigation of murder and other crimes, including an earlier stabbing, authorities said Wednesday.

The students were struck while on a sidewalk Tuesday afternoon near Westlake High School in the city of Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles. The car overturned.

“Eyewitnesses said that they actually saw the suspect make an intentional move to drive his vehicle up onto the sidewalk,” said Deputy Wendell Campbell, public information officer for the Thousand Oaks Police Department.

Campbell said he did not know if investigators had determined a motive.

Austin Eis, 24, was booked into jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, attempted robbery, burglary, brandishing a firearm, resisting arrest, kidnapping, felony use of tear gas and assault with a deadly weapon, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Eis faces arraignment Thursday. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.

The boy who was killed was identified as 15-year-old Wesley Welling of Thousand Oaks. His sister Hannah told KTLA-TV she saw it happen and called her mother and 911.

“I pulled up to the scene and they were still doing CPR on him,” his mother, Kelly Welling, told the station. “It’s literally the worst call, the worst nightmare that any parent can deal with.”

Another 15-year-old boy and two girls, ages 16 and 14, were injured. One victim remained hospitalized, and two others were released, Campbell said.

The boys were initially identified as 16, and one of the girls was said to be 15. Campbell said that was due to different sets of ages listed by first responders.

The crash followed the stabbing of a Walmart employee and an assault on another employee in adjacent Simi Valley, and a non-injury disturbance at the home of the suspect’s parents in nearby Camarillo, authorities said.

The circumstances of the store incident remained under investigation. There was no information on the condition of the stabbing victim, who was hospitalized.

Area law enforcement officers were looking for the car in which the stabbing suspect fled when they learned it was involved in the Thousand Oaks crash.

Eis was treated for injuries before being booked. A firearm was recovered from the vehicle, Campbell said.

Asked if the suspect was transient and living in the car, Campbell said that was not confirmed but it appeared likely.

“During this time of unimaginable loss, our thoughts and prayers remain with these students, their families, friends, and the entire Warrior community,” the Conejo Valley Unified School District said in a statement on Facebook.