City Council to discuss adding money to hit-and-run reward

Captain Roosevelt Johnson starts off a press conference on Monday, Feb. 26, 2017, about the $20,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of the person who hit and killed 15-year-old Desiree Lawson on Dec. 26, 2016. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Councilman Bob Kellar plans to address the rest of the City Council about adding to the reward to find 15-year-old Desiree Lawson’s killer at the council’s next meeting on March 14.

Los Angeles County has already put forth $20,000 to find information concerning the fatal hit and run, but Kellar said at the Feb. 28 council meeting that he’d like to dig into the Council’s special fund to donate additional money on behalf of Santa Clarita.

“We partner on so many things with the county,” Kellar said to the Signal. “I’m so very sad that we should need to necessarily partner on something as tragic as this, but the truth of the matter is I think if we can add to that amount of money a little bit, if it’ll help make the difference of somebody coming forward to give us the information, I think it’s very appropriate.”

While Kellar said Lawson’s death is not a unique circumstance, he said he felt the tragedy necessitated action on his part.

“The fact that anyone would leave the scene of an accident like that is just unconscionable, and as a City Council member and a person involved in our community, I feel that the city should be a participant in this as well,” he said.

The Councilman’s proposal echoes Mayor Cameron Smyth’s sentiments expressed at a Feb. 27 press conference.

“A hit and run is one of the most cowardly acts that someone could perpetrate,” Smyth said at the press conference. “We applaud both our sheriff’s department and the (Los Angeles County) Board of Supervisors for taking a leadership role in offering this reward.”

Kellar said the Council has discussed using city money for similar purposes in the past. Santa Clarita has a specific fund set aside each year for cases such as this.

“This is not the first time the city of Santa Clarita or I have made suggestions of maybe trying to assist with some program that will help determine the facts of a matter or who is responsible for a particular circumstance,” Kellar said.

City Council will discuss whether or not to proceed with Kellar’s suggestion on March 14 at their regular meeting.

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