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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
US crowd beats passenger to death
An angry Texas crowd has beaten and killed a 40-year-old car passenger after a driver injured a young girl near the site of a busy local festival.

Police said the driver of the car had stopped to check on the health of the girl, said to be aged three or four.

But when the passenger got out to see how she was, he was set upon by a group of up to 20 people before being left lying in a car park, police said.

The girl was hit at low speed and was not seriously injured.

The incident happened near Austin, Texas, as crowd of between 2,000-3,000 people gathered for the annual Juneteenth festival, which commemorates the freeing of American slaves.

'Group mentality'

According to reports, the driver of the car hit the girl at a low speed while moving through a car park, and then stopped so his passenger could check on her condition.

Things get out of hand pretty quickly and people don't have the good sense to stop
Commander Harold Piatt
Austin police

But the angry crowd quickly turned on David Rivas Morales, 40, beating him before leaving him lying on the ground.

He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead soon afterwards. A preliminary autopsy listed "blunt force trauma" as the cause of death, the Associated Press reported.

The driver was able to leave the scene in his car.

"Mr Morales could have been assaulted by two to 20 folks," said Harold Piatt, from the Austin police department.

"It's that same crowd mindset of being one face in 1,000. Things get out of hand pretty quickly and people don't have the good sense to stop."

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