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Driver intentionally hit Westlake High students, killing 1, after Walmart stabbing, authorities say

An aerial view of a four-lane street with an overturned car and emergency vehicles nearby.
A car plowed into a group of teenagers Tuesday afternoon near Westlake High School, killing a 15-year-old boy, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)
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A Ventura County man was arrested early Wednesday and accused of plowing a car into a group of teenagers near Westlake High School, killing one, hours after stabbing a Walmart employee in Simi Valley, officials said.

The investigation, including evidence at the scene and witness statements, led authorities to conclude the Tuesday afternoon crash was intentional, Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. William Hutton said.

Austin Eis, 24, was booked at the Ventura County main jail around 5 a.m. on seven felony counts, including attempted robbery, resisting an executive officer, attempted murder, murder, burglary and two counts of exhibiting a firearm in a threatening manner, Hutton said.

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Bail is currently set at $5 million. No court date is set, Hutton said.

Eis is a former Westlake High student with no known criminal history, said Deputy Wendell Campbell, a spokesperson for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. It was not immediately clear whether he knew the teenagers, Campbell said, and no motive for the stabbing or the vehicle attack was disclosed.

It was not clear when Eis attended Westlake High.

Thousand Oaks is mourning Wesley Welling, 15, killed in what officials have called an intentional crash by a suspect also linked to a stabbing and a domestic incident.

April 19, 2023

For the record:

3:04 p.m. April 19, 2023A previous version of this article said the crash occurred just before 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. It occurred around 3:30 p.m.

Eis is accused of crashing his Toyota Camry into the teenagers just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on Lakeview Canyon Road in Thousand Oaks, not far from the school campus.

The vehicle struck four children: two boys, both 15, and two girls, ages 14 and 16, sheriff’s officials said.

One of the boys, Wesley Welling, died at a local hospital, officials said. Wesley, a ninth-grade student at Westlake, was waiting for a bus home when he and the other students were struck, according to a GoFundMe page set up by a close friend of his family.

The three other injured students were taken to the hospital. Two have since been released, and the extent of the third’s injuries is not known, Campbell said Wednesday morning.

Eis was detained at the scene, then taken to a hospital, officials said.

A white sedan was left lying on its roof in the roadway, which was expected to be closed for several hours.

The crash came sometime after the suspect was allegedly involved in a stabbing in Simi Valley and a domestic incident in Camarillo, according to police.

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LAPD Officer Toni McBride alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Police Chief Michel Moore demanded she delete her social media posts or “he would destroy her career.”

April 18, 2023

On Tuesday afternoon, Simi Valley police were called to a Walmart in the 250 block of Cochran Street after a customer allegedly stabbed an employee inside the store and fled the scene in a white Toyota Camry, city police said.

The employee was taken to a hospital in unknown condition.

The suspect then traveled to Camarillo and was involved in an argument with family members that did not result in injuries before driving to Thousand Oaks, sheriff’s officials said.

“I was walking with friends and I think I was turned around at that moment and then the next moment, I think I hear like, very loud, higher screeching,” Erik Bergh, a Westlake High School student who witnessed the crash, told KABC-TV Channel 7. “It sounds like a car’s on the sidewalk and then I hear people screaming and running and then I turn around and I just see this big car barreling towards me and there’s debris flying everywhere.”

Parents, staff and children witnessed Anthony Duran collapse after a fight with another boy at the trampoline park, Merced police said.

April 18, 2023

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

“We, as a tightknit school community and district, appreciate your support and continued care for one another at this time, and always,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said mental health counselors will be on campuses districtwide Wednesday for students, staff and families.

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Ventura County sheriff’s officials said the motive for the stabbing at the Walmart is unclear.

“The incident involved a customer stabbing an employee within the store. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived. Witnesses provided information about the suspect’s vehicle, which was described as a white Toyota Camry, missing the front bumper. Witnesses also provided the license plate number of the suspect vehicle,” officials said in a statement. “The victim of the stabbing, who suffered at least one stab wound, was transported to a local trauma center for treatment.”

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