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13-year-old twins among 3 dead in Santa Ana Halloween hit-and-run

Three 13-year-old girls, two of whom were twins, were killed by a hit-and-run driver Friday evening while they were trick-or-treating in Santa Ana, police said.

The three were struck about 6:45 p.m. by a driver "going at a high rate of speed" westbound while they were in a crosswalk in the area of Old Grand Street and Fairhaven Avenue, directly in front of Fairhaven Elementary School, said Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana police.

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All three girls were declared dead at the scene, said Orange County Fire Capt. Steve Concialdi. 

The third girl was a friend of the twin sisters, Bertagna said. 

All families have been notified and are at the scene, he said.

A crowd of about 200 people, many still wearing costumes, gathered near the scene consoling one another as they watched the police activity.

Witnesses said the victims lived in the area.

Authorities believe they have located the suspect vehicle, a Honda SUV, which was found behind a Big Lots store near the crime scene, police said.

"It has damage to the front of it and evidence inside it," Bertagna said. Witnesses followed the car after the collision, but lost the suspects once they fled on foot, police said.

Police are looking for two men who they said were in the car at the time of the incident.

A large crime scene has been set up in the area.

Sharon Stewart, a barber at the nearby #1 Barber Shop, said she was eating outside when she heard what sounded "like a terrible crash. A couple of thumps.  Then I heard screaming. I turned and I saw a car leaving and people yelling. So I thought, 'It's a hit-and-run.' "

She said the vehicle passed her on Fairhaven, so she got in her car and followed.  Stewart saw a young man run from the scene and heard him yelling at what she thought was his companion.

"I only saw one guy but I know there was somebody else," she said.

Added Stewart: "There were a lot of people back there, quite a few witnesses. There was quite a few kids that did see it. I'm sorry they had to see it."

About 10:20 p.m., a young man approached the police tape. He said he had heard there had been an accident. He could be heard asking, "Are they OK?"

Police took him aside. Bystanders identified him as the twins' brother.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Follow Ryan Parker for breaking news at @theryanparker and on Facebook

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