A Los Angeles-area teenager who ran over a mother walking her child in a stroller in Venice in 2021 and received just a few months of diversionary camp as punishment was found dead of a gunshot wound in Palmdale, California this week.
Kristopher Baca, 17, was found fatally shot on Wednesday on a driveway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Murder Connected to Hit-and-Run Case?
Baca was not previously identified in connection in the Venice hit-and-run case as he was a juvenile at the time. He pleaded guilty to the hit-and-run offense last year.
The Los Angeles County Coroner-Medical Examiner's office confirmed Baca's death Friday but said the examination was still pending. At this time, it is not yet known that his death is connected to the hit-and-run case, and no suspect description was available.
Baca Shot After Trying to 'Get with a Girl'
Sources close to the investigation told FOX News that he had been at a fast food restaurant earlier trying to "get with a girl."
"As he walked home alone, a car pulled up next to him and an argument broke out. Someone in the vehicle opened fire, then sped off," FOX News reported.
'Universe Delivered the Justice We Weren't Given in Court'
The young mother eventually moved her family out of Los Angeles to get away from what she has described as "soft-on-crime policies."
The mother, who asked only to be identified as Rachel, told Fox News Friday that her husband was out of town when she heard the news, and she had to mull it over alone. She said she was both relieved and saddened by the news.
"The universe delivered the justice we weren't given in court, but a much harsher punishment than he'd have been dealt in a court of law," she said.
The case made national headlines last year when Los Angeles County District Attorney George GascÃ³n's office sought a five- to seven-month sentence in juvenile probation camp, a punishment for young offenders described as less severe than military school but harsher than summer camp.
Baca was Already on Probation for Poisoning a Girl's Drink
The teen was already on felony probation for poisoning a high school girl's drink at the time of the hit-and-run â which surveillance cameras captured on Aug. 6, 2021.
The video showed a stolen vehicle speeding the wrong way down a one-way backstreet. It plowed into a woman walking her infant son in a stroller. Then he hit the gas, accelerating away from the scene, where a good Samaritan in a pickup truck rammed the suspect vehicle head on.
The LAPD also found found drugs in the driver's system and marijuana in the car. The suspect was 15 at the time of the hit-and-run.
Baca's GofundMe Page
Baca's mother, a single mom, has now set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his funeral costs. The fundraiser has already amassed over $5,000 in donations.
"I think I feel shorted â by the system because they didn't hold him accountable and sad, not for him, but for his mom a little, because if George GascÃ³n actually did his job this kid would still be alive in jail," Rachel told FOX News.