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Suspect in fatal Halloween crash in Long Beach back in jail on burglary charges

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Rosie Ritchie, right, holds a cross while standing with mourners at a memorial near where Joseph Awaida, his toddler son and his wife, Raihan, were struck by a suspected DUI motorist on Halloween.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The suspect in a Halloween crash that killed a family of three in Long Beach has been taken into custody in connection with a separate burglary investigation, investigators said Wednesday.

Carlo Navarro, 20, was arrested Tuesday evening at his home on charges stemming from the burglary, which took place June 30, according to the Long Beach Police Department. He was booked into Long Beach City Jail, where he’s being held on $500,000 bail.

The Long Beach city prosecutor’s office said it was already in the process of issuing a warrant for Navarro’s arrest on the burglary charges and sought an enhanced bail after learning about the Thursday crash in which police say Navarro struck a couple and their young son while they were trick-or-treating. Navarro, who was arrested after the crash, has not been charged in that case.

The crash took place shortly before 10 p.m. along Country Club Drive near Los Cerritos Park. Authorities say Navarro veered onto the sidewalk and struck Joseph Awaida, 30; his wife, Raihan, 32; and their 3-year-old son. All three died of their injuries.

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News of the tragedy spread quickly in the close-knit Muslim community in Long Beach, sparking an outpouring of support and a flood of donations to online fundraising campaigns.

Navarro was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter Thursday, after Joseph Awaida died. He was released from jail Friday after posting $100,000 bond.

Navarro also faces charges of burglary, vandalism and possession of burglary tools in connection with the June 30 break-in, in which police say he broke a glass window at a vape shop in North Long Beach. Investigators found him with a mask, bolt cutters and a backpack containing more than $600 worth of stolen merchandise, city prosecutor Douglas Haubert said. Navarro was arrested that day but was released July 1, jail records show. The charges related to the arrest were filed on Tuesday, according to court records.

The city prosecutor’s office went to court Tuesday morning to request bail in the burglary case be set at $500,000, Haubert said.

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“We feel that $500,000 bail, although that is a high amount for a misdemeanor case, is justified and completely appropriate due to the atypical facts in this situation,” Haubert said in an email. He said that a judge has discretion to consider factors beyond the charges in a particular case and that there was concern that published reports speculating Navarro could be charged with murder in connection with the crash could also motivate him to flee.

Times staff writer Leila Miller contributed to this report.


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