Investigators seek leads in pursuit of Carrillo’s killer
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
A 23-year-old Hemet man was shot and killed last week in Valle Vista, and sheriff’s investigators are pursuing leads into who may be responsible.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19 at about 10:12 a.m., Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to investigate a possible vehicle collision near Earle Court and De Waide Avenue in Valle Vista, according to the sheriff’s department. When deputies arrived, they discovered a man had been shot.
The victim, later identified by deputies as 23-year-old Hemet resident Daniel Carrillo, died at the scene, despite life-saving measures by medical personnel, who were summoned.
If Carrillo’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he also made headlines in 2012 for running a red light and hitting eight students and a 60-year-old woman in a Hemet High crosswalk. Three of the students were seriously injured by the then-18-year-old driver’s modified 1994 Ford Ranger. One of those students, 15-year-old Helen Richardson, fell into a “conscious coma,” and was intubated on May 30, 2012.
Initially thought to have been speeding, the California Highway Patrol later determined that Carrillo’s brakes had malfunctioned, causing him to plow into the group of 30 students and pedestrians at between 32-36 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to CHP officers. Authorities ultimately decided not to pursue reckless driving charges against Carrillo. Carrillo reportedly had just gotten his license only 15 days prior to the accident.
Richardson would remain in her coma for over a week at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, having suffered permanent brain damage, two fractured vertebrae in her lower spine, nerve damage in one eye, and severe road rash on her legs.
Although he was not charged, Carrillo seemed to take responsibility for the accident. The 18-year-old showed up to a benefit carwash for Richardson a week after the accident to make a $100 donation, and leave a card for Richardson.
“You could see in his heart he felt bad,” said Diane Shubin, who was at the donation booth when Carillo made his. “It almost looked like he wanted to break down, like he felt bad about it.”
Richardson, who started to show signs of responsiveness around the eighth day of her coma with the help of a therapy dog named Rumor, struggled with post traumatic stress disorder, a changed personality, loss of physical ability, and problems with short-term memory, mental comprehension, and reading. Friends and family say she never “fully recovered,” and would end up leaving home, becoming homeless for awhile.
Last April, Richardson took her own life just two months before she would have turned 21.
On Saturday, Dec. 30, a fundraiser softball tournament will be held at Maine Street in San Jacinto, behind Lopez Market, to help with Carrillo’s funeral expenses. A GoFundMe page created by his family carries the following message:
“Danny is survived by his beautiful daughter that looks just like him, his twin brother and 6 other brothers and sisters, his mom, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews. He left us all with his unforgettable SMILE and his warm and calm heart. We know he is in a better place and has reunited with our Dad.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Central Homicide Unit and Hemet Station Investigators have assumed the investigation into Carrillo’s death. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Investigator Button of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at (760) 393-3531 or Investigator Porrazo at 951-719-3400.