LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles police shot dead a 14-year-old girl who was in a dressing room locker room on Thursday when officers shot a suspect and a bullet went through the wall and hit the girl, authorities said With.
Police fatally shot the suspect Thursday morning in a shop in Burlington, North Hollywood, San Fernando Valley, police said.
Witnesses told KCBS-TV that a man started behaving erratically by threatening to throw items off the upper floor and attacked a woman with a bicycle lock just before noon when the store was overflowing with Christmas shoppers.
The officers responded to one report of an attack and others about gunshots being fired, police said. Investigators did not find a weapon at the scene.
The suspect was shot in the store and died, but one of the bullets penetrated a drywall behind the man, killing the girl who was in a locker room with her mother, police said.
Officials found the teenager dead after seeing a hole in a “solid wall that is hard to see,” said LAPD deputy chief Dominic Choi.
Investigators did not immediately know whether she was in the locker room or hiding there before the violence began, he said.
“This chaotic incident, which led to the death of an innocent child, is tragic and devastating for everyone involved,” said Police Chief Michel Moore in a statement late Thursday evening. “I am deeply sorry for the loss of this young girl and I know that there are no words that can alleviate the unimaginable pain for the family.”
Moore promised a “thorough, complete and transparent investigation” into the shooting, saying that a video of a critical incident with emergency calls, a body camera and other videos would be released by Monday.
The names of the girl and the suspect were not immediately disclosed, and the woman who was attacked is not identified.
Investigators tried to find out whether it was an arbitrary or targeted attack. Choi said she did not think the teenager was related to the person attacked.
Police found a heavy metal cable lock near the suspect, Choi said.
The California Department of Justice is investigating the shooting, Attorney General Rob Bonta said.
News reports showed that a bloody-faced woman who appeared to be the victim of the assault was put in an ambulance.
The victim was taken to hospital with moderate to severe injuries, said fire department spokesman Nicholas Prange. Choi said she had wounds on her head, arms and face.
The shooting recalled a confrontation on July 21, 2018, in which LAPD officials accidentally shot and killed a woman in Trader Joe’s market. Officials got into a shootout with a man whom authorities say shot his grandmother and girlfriend before leading police on a car chase that ended when he collided with his car outside the market.
A police bullet killed Melyda Corado, 27, the deputy branch manager, when she ran to the store’s entrance after hearing the car accident.
The suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, held employees and buyers hostage for three hours before surrendering, authorities said.
Atkins has pleaded not guilty to the murder.
Prosecutors found that two police officers were acting lawfully retorting Atkins’ shots.
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