15-year-old girl killed trying to stop iPhone robbery

“Santa Ana police are searching for a man accused of stealing an iPhone from a teenage girl who died while trying to stop the robbery,” Hailey Branson-Potts reports for The Los Angeles Times. “The 15-year-old girl was walking with her 7-year-old sister near the 1000 block of West Warner Avenue in Santa Ana at midday Thursday when she was approached by a man who stole her phone, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.”

“As he approached the girls, the man asked the older sister for the time before ‘forcefully taking her phone’ and running, Bertagna said. He fled to a nearby light gray or silver Pontiac, authorities said. The vehicle was driven by a second, unknown person,” Branson-Potts reports. “As the Pontiac began driving away, the teenager, identified by police as Rubi Rubio, jumped onto the trunk and held on briefly. Witnesses told police that the driver ‘swerved back and forth in what appeared to be an intentional manner to get her off the car,’ Bertagna said.”

Branson-Potts reports, “The girl fell from the vehicle and died from her injuries on Saturday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Condolences to Rubi Rubio’s family and friends.


  1. NEVER EVER put your own safety and the safety of others on the line for machinery. Objects can be replaced . human life cannot. You learn that if you’ve ever worked in security, military, etc. she made a horrible mistake, just for an iPhone.

      1. Not looking to appear to make light of this, it’s anything but that. Exactly what position was she put into? Sorry if I’m too dense to understand your statement but she was “walking with her 7-year-old sister near the 1000 block of West Warner Avenue in Santa Ana at midday”.

        1. She was robbed. She had a right to defend herself and her property. The murderer put her in the position of defending her property. That it resulted in her death is ENTIRELY the thief’s fault.

          1. Zeke, I like a lot of what you write, but this is WAY off base. Yes, she has the “right”, but rights have nothing to do with it.

            I have the right to walk down any street I like, but if I see a pack of rabid dogs, I’m not going to.

            Similarly, if I see some people who I think care as little about my life as those rabid dogs, I’m not walking there.

            And even more so if it’s people who not only don’t care, but who will ENJOY hurting me.

            My “rights” have nothing to do with make the correct, life-preserving choice.

            1. And what if she didn’t have a choice? What if she was just walking down the same street she always walked down with her sister every day? What if she had no warning?

              This is one reason I no longer live in CA. It has become a haven for thieves and gang members, and it’s getting worse as the residents become more and more disarmed. The idea that we should all just surrender our possessions, our bodies, and our lives to any thug who happens along is SOP in CA, and it’s spreading elsewhere. When you need help right now, the police are always several minutes away, if they respond at all. I now live in a state where about 1 in 25 residents has a CCW license. That means chances are there’s an armed citizen in any given restaurant, on any given bus or streetcar, or in any city park. People are a lot more polite here.

              The people who did this counted on her surrendering. When she didn’t, they acted affirmatively to injure her, resulting in her death. These perps are guilty of 1st degree murder and they deserve anything they get.

            2. Zeke – First, I suspect that you have no idea if the people in CA are becoming “more and more disarmed” (whatever that means).
              Second, the girl in question may or may not have had a choice about walking down the street, but she certainly had a choice about jumping onto the back of the perp’s getaway car. Absolutely these people are guilty of murder and are totally responsible for her death. But Sean is correct that she did not make the correct life preserving choice by jumping onto that car. If she had not done that she would likely be alive today.
              Last, I’m always saddened when the pro-gun crowd tries to pretend that introducing more and more lethal weapons into one of the most violent societies in the western world will somehow make it safer. Having a gun rarely increases safety – look at the Las Vegas cops shot while in a diner; or the Seattle cops shot in a restaurant a few years ago. There are far more instances of people killed by guns than people saved by guns. People who have a gun in their house are multiple times more likely to die from a gunshot. http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2012/12/health-risk-having-gun-home http://www.forbes.com/sites/robwaters/2012/12/17/gun-violence-americas-secret-health-crisis/2/
              The evidence is indisputable to all but the blind.

            3. You can site all of the made-up statistics you want, and repeat the lies you hear in the anti-gun echo chamber, but it’s all BS.

              The violent crime and homicide rates are about half what they were in 1992.


              Even as the number of guns in circulation has dramatically increased. Wherever the strictest gun controls are in effect, thereby disarming honest citizens, it is there that you will find the most violent crime. That’s true in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC, as well as in Britain. Britain has almost no guns in the hands of honest citizens and it has the highest violent crime rate in the EU.

              There is a mountain of junk science out there that “proves” guns are dangerous. Surveys asking about gun ownership in the US return results showing a decrease in gun ownership, but that’s assuming people aren’t lying on the survey, or refusing to participate because they own firearms. The 74 “school shootings” since Sandy Hook meme has been proven to be a carefully concocted lie. Even fleeing felons shot by police NEAR schools were counted as “school shootings”. More than half of the numbers reported as “homicides” by various anti-gun organizations were suicides, not murders. 60% of the remaining homicides are gang/drug related. Are those thugs going to obey gun registration or confiscation laws? Most of the reported “child” gun deaths reported are those of juvenile gang members. Quit living in fantasyland. Quit assuming that all research is unbiased and honest. The people who pump out this false crap are simply furthering their own agenda, and they have no compunctions about lying to do so. They make their livings vilifying guns and sucking in donations from hapless believers.

            4. “These perps are guilty of 1st degree murder and they deserve anything they get.”

              “And what if she didn’t have a choice?”
              Utterly irrelevant sentence that has nothing to do with the situation. She had 100% choice on jumping on the car or not doing so.

            5. Zeke – Maybe YOU shouldn’t cite made up statistics. Reported violent crime rates in different countries are based on different definitions of “violent crime.” For example, according to numerous studies, violent crime is 4 times worse in the UK than in the US. However, the FBI counts violent crime only as murder, forcible rape and aggravated assault and robbery. The UK counts ALL offenses against the person including simple assault and all sexual offenses. An accurate comparison of “violent” crime between countries is simply not possible.

              But that’s not what’s being discussed here anyway. The indisputable fact is that the US has more gun deaths per capita than any other country in the developed western world (I’m not counting South America) at 9.4 deaths per 100k (2011 figures). The UK by comparison has 0.25 (2010 figures). And that doesn’t count non-lethal injuries, which are estimated in the US as twice the number of fatalities. In the US, gun violence accounts for 6.6% of premature death (counting years of life lost before age 65).
              Citing high violence rates in huge cites (NY, Chicago, LA, etc.) and trying to tie it to stricter gun control is disingenuous at best. ALL large cities, whether in countries with high gun ownership or low gun ownership, have high violence rates. Stop conflating gun ownership with violence rates. The point is that violence with guns is far more lethal than violence without guns.

              It’s also a proven fact that people of all age groups are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, relative to states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of *unintentional* firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun level. http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-deaths-and-injuries-statistics/

              How anyone can defend this situation is beyond me.

          2. Agree 100% so I hope my question didn’t come across the wrong way. The OP phrased it where you could almost read it as being the girl’s or her family’s fault for being in the wrong place/wrong time. CCW can help with quite a few cases like this. Then at least a person (and I’m one of them) can have a choice.

            1. Correct. But it could have been a choice for a legal gun owner that may have been very close to this or other like situations. As the saying goes – when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

          3. Sorry Zeke, you’re wrong. She chased after the robbers and jumped on the trunk of their car. While it’s very sad that she died, let’s be real about why she died — to stop someone from stealing her phone.

            These guys will be found guilty of murder and punished accordingly. But she put herself in a massively dangerous situation by jumping on the car (not to mention leaving her 7 hear old sister alone). Get a license plate and let them go. It’s just a phone.

            1. Jeez, she was just fifteen. And obviously she was not equipped to make a rational decision in the circumstance. This was a crime directed against a child. I would expect the ADULT to do the right thing, not the child! Don’t kill someone over a stupid phone! Yes, the child was wrong, but I would not blame her for the consequences of her action. Isn’t this why the courts treat children differently from adults — they are not adults.

      1. It’s horrible what they did to her, but I doubt it’s going to be first degree murder. That requires premeditation and an intent to harm or kill, and I don’t think a smart prosecutor presses for that. Very possible a jury doesn’t agree with the premeditation or even the intent to harm (they were just trying to get her off the car). Not defending them in any way, just analyzing the legal problems with first degree murder charges.

        She is, unfortunately (and this will come up from the defense), partially at fault because she jumped on the car and put herself in a very dangerous situation that she didn’t need to be in. The defense will argue that if she had not jumped on the car, she would not have been harmed, and that is true.

        She had a right to defend herself, but once they had the phone she should have let them go. It’s not self-defense once the criminal leaves the victim, because the victim was no longer in imminent danger or threat of harm. Unfortunately, this girl mad a very poor decision that cost her life. Very sad.

        1. The proximate cause of her death was the robbery. It was premeditated. You can’t argue that you didn’t plan to kill anyone during the robbery. That won’t fly in court. Several jurisdictions recognize the right to shoot a fleeing felon, anticipating that such flight (as it was here) is a danger to life and limb for the general public. If she’d been a cop and shot them it wouldn’t even be questioned.

    1. I completely agree that no material possession is worth losing your life for. That being said I hate the lay down and let it happen to you advice either. It only makes criminals more brazen. There will never be any justice in this case that fits the crime, whatever the punishment. The public defender will push for involuntary manslaughter, and unfortunately that will probably be the outcome… or worse some scumbag defense attorney will take the case pro-bono to make a name for himself and have it dropped to a lesser charge somehow making it the victims fault. My heart goes out to her family… so sad.

    2. In no way is any blame to be ascribed to the child who died. Any attempt to place blame on her inadvertently excuses the assholes WHO CREATED THE ENTIRE SITUATION RESULTING IN HER DEATH. She reacted to violently being robbed. The thieves are guilty of murder.

      This will hold up in California.

      1. First degree murder and negligence[edit]
        In March of 2013, the California Supreme Court held in People v. Wilkins ((2013) 56 Cal.4th 333) that a burglary is complete for purposes of the felony murder rule where death resulted from a negligent act committed while actively engaged in a burglary. Wilkins committed a burglary. On the way from the burglary, unsecured items fell from his pickup truck, causing another driver to swerve and become involved in a fatal collision.

      2. I certainly hope you’re correct. Now assuming they catch them, whatever the verdict and sentence, there will be no justice… condolences to the family

    1. Unfortunately, she probably thought if she fell off she would just get up and chase the car down on foot, like they do a couple of times a week on TV. Sad to see her emotions about a thing overcome what her head would have told her was a bad idea in less intense circumstances. Much too high of a price.

  2. Sad story.
    Another good reason to have an option for a pass code to power off the phone, she could have let it go, went to the nearest phone, called police, gave her email and password and they probably would have tracked and cought them, she’d still be here, they’d be in jail instead of free, or this incident may never have happened at all. Silver pontiac, not exactly your “I have money or brains” kinda car. Condolences to the family.

  3. So they’re looking for a latino guy somewhere in California with dark short dark hair, late 20s to early 30s, wearing a white wife-beater and jeans. Wow, with that detailed and unique description how could they NOT find him??

      1. I don’t know about Santa Ana cops, but I can assure you from personal experience that Modesto cops won’t respond to repeated location tracking of an iPhone stolen during the commission of a felony robbery and assault and battery. Worthless bunch of lazy donut eaters.

        1. They always have been. I’m very familiar with Modesto. I grew up in Stockton. Which, like most small valley towns, is still as massively politically corrupt as it was during the gold rush days.

  4. “MacDailyNews Take: Condolences to Rubi Rubio’s family and friends.”

    Condolences indeed MDN when just a couple of days ago you inserted a headline: “Taylor Swift: Apple iPhones killed the celebrity autograph” which is something she never said, it was a headline that YOU put in. You requested a kill, you got it MDN, blood on your hands.


    Watch your karma MDN, it can be a real bitch. Think next time before you insert a life removing concept into your headline.

    You’ve been warned.

      1. That’s great, thanks Zeke. Hope you been doing well. Don’t forget to cast your nomination for the most tasteless MDN headline ever, ““Taylor Swift: Apple iPhones killed the celebrity autograph” gets my vote.

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