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LAPD: Woman suspected of driving car through Harbor Gateway home, killing 1, turns herself in

A family member visits the house where one person was killed and 11 others were injured Wednesday night when police say a driver crashed her car into the Harbor Gateway home where a prayer group was meeting.
A family member visits the house where one person was killed and 11 others were injured Wednesday night when police say a driver crashed her car into the Harbor Gateway home where a prayer group was meeting.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police have arrested a woman suspected of crashing a car through a Harbor Gateway home earlier this week, killing one person and injuring 11 others who were gathered inside for a prayer group.

Rashanda Norman, 34, turned herself in at a South L.A. police station Thursday evening, said LAPD Officer Aareon Jefferson. Online records showed that she was booked on suspicion of felony hit and run and was being held on $50,000 bail.

Police had been searching for the suspect since Wednesday night’s deadly crash. The worshipers had gathered, as they often did, at the small blue house in the 14800 block of South Orchard, when the maroon Buick hopped the curb, smashed into a neighbor’s “for sale” sign and plowed into the living room.

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The driver ran off, police said. When paramedics arrived, the car was still jammed into the front of the house. Some of the victims were trapped in the wreckage.

At least five people were seriously injured, a Fire Department spokesman previously told The Times. One woman, whose name has not been released by authorities, died later at a hospital.

Ana Cristobal was sitting in her SUV before leaving for the market with two friends when she saw the car speeding down the road.

“It went straight and landed and crashed into the wall,” Cristobal, 58, recalled.

Cristobal ran across the street with her two friends and heard a group of women, many of them elderly, screaming and crying for help. Some were stuck between the car and the living room wall, she said. Some were bleeding.

“We were trying to move them, but we couldn’t,” she said.

The morning after the crash, a gaping hole from the crash remained visible.

The home’s wooden beams stood exposed; pillows, drywall and couch cushions were strewn on the floor. Photos of the Virgin Mary hung on the wall.

kate.mather@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter: @katemather

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