A California woman has been charged with killing a man by running her car over him after she accused him of trying to run over a cat on the street, authorities said Wednesday. Hannah Star Esser, 20, has been charged with murder in the death of Victor Anthony Luis, 43, and is being held on $1 million bail, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Esher was driving in the Cypress community Sunday night when she confronted Luis and accused him of trying to run over a cat, authorities said.
She and Luis both got out of their vehicles and got into an argument that Esser recorded, authorities said.
Esher then returned to her car, turned around, “accelerated” toward Luis and struck him with the right front of her car, authorities said.
The man “was thrown onto the hood and windshield and flipped over several times before landing on the road,” authorities said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Luis, a father of five daughters, was expecting his first grandchild this fall. He was killed in front of his apartment building and “died in the arms of his only brother,” according to a statement issued by his family on Wednesday.
“This senseless act of violence robbed the world of a bright light that will never be forgotten,” the statement said, adding that his sister has set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his funeral.
Esher was arrested Sunday and had an initial court appearance Tuesday, court records show. He is scheduled to be arraigned on October 13. An email was sent to defense attorney Michael Morrison seeking comment.
Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said it was not immediately clear if a cat was indeed involved. The crime is still under investigation, he said.
“This action showed a complete disregard for human life,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will ensure that this random act of violence targeting a stranger is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”