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Man charged in Halloween night crash that killed Long Beach family

Memorial for Awaida family in Long Beach
Amy Garcia of Long Beach places a bouquet of flowers at a memorial for the Awaida family.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A Long Beach man has been charged with three counts of murder in connection with a Halloween night crash that killed a mother, father and their 3-year-old son, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Carlo Navarro, 20, was also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The charges include an allegation of causing death to multiple victims.

Police say Navarro swerved onto the sidewalk along Country Club Drive near Los Cerritos Park shortly before 10 p.m. Oct. 31 and struck Joseph Awaida, 30; his wife, Raihan Awaida, 32; and their 3-year-old son, Omar. All three died of their injuries.

Navarro was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter following the crash. He was released from jail after posting a $100,000 bond and rebooked on Nov. 7 on a no-bail hold for two counts of manslaughter. At the time, he was in custody for an unrelated burglary warrant.

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Navarro faces charges of burglary, vandalism and possession of burglary tools in connection with a June 30 break-in, in which authorities say he broke a glass window at a vape shop in the Bixby Knolls area. Investigators found him with a mask, bolt cutters and a backpack containing more than $600 worth of stolen merchandise, Long Beach city prosecutor Douglas Haubert said.

Navarro was arrested that day but was released July 1, jail records show. The Long Beach city prosecutor’s office sought an enhanced bail of $500,000 after the Halloween crash. County prosecutors are now seeking to hold him without bail.

Joseph Awaida died at a hospital Halloween night after being struck by a 2002 Toyota Sequoia police say was driven by Navarro.

Awaida was working at his father’s auto shop and had dreams of becoming a doctor. His young son, Omar, died two day later. The boy’s mother, Raihan Awaida, died the following day. She had received a master’s degree in social work in May from Cal State Long Beach and had been applying for jobs in that field.

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The tragedy has brought an outpouring of support from Long Beach’s Muslim community. More than 4,000 people have raised some $230,000 in a GoFundMe campaign. Thousands attended a memorial last week at the Islamic Society of Orange County.

Faisal Dakhil, Raihan’s father, said that as he grieves, he has taken comfort in hearing stories about his daughter from people who knew her. The young couple have been described as dedicated to community service, both in the Muslim community and at organizations such as For the Child, a nonprofit that helps suspected victims of child abuse.

“I see they are massing together to continue in their legacy and their spirit,” Dakhil said of community members who have pledged to continue the Awaidas’ spirit of giving. “They’ve been inspired to keep this kind of quest going. And that makes us feel happy and makes me feel like Raihan as a person is still with us, working through them.”


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