LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) – Los Angeles police fatally shot a 14-year-old girl who was in a dressing room at a clothing store on Thursday when police opened fire on a suspected assailant and a bullet pierced the wall and hit the girl, authorities said.
Police also shot the suspect Thursday morning at a Burlington store in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley, police said.
Witnesses told KCBS-TV that the man began to act in a disorderly manner, threatening to throw objects from the top floor, and attacked a woman with a bicycle lock shortly before noon as the store was overflowing with shoppers for the holidays.
Officers responded to reports of the attack and other gunfire, police said. Investigators found no weapons at the scene.
The suspect was shot and killed in the store, but one of the bullets pierced the drywall behind the man and killed the girl who was in the locker room with her mother, police said.
Officers found the teen dead after seeing a hole in “a solid wall that you cannot see behind,” LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi said.
According to him, investigators did not immediately find out if she was in the locker room before the violence began or if she ran away to hide.
“This chaotic incident, leading to the death of an innocent child, is tragic and devastating to everyone involved,” Police Chief Michelle Moore said in a statement late Thursday. “I deeply regret the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can ease the unimaginable pain of a family.”
Moore promised a “thorough, complete and transparent investigation” of the shooting and said a video of the critical incident would be released by Monday, which will include emergency calls, body cameras and other videos.
The names of the girl and the suspect are not released immediately, and the name of the woman who was attacked is not established.
Investigators tried to determine whether the attack was accidental or targeted. Choi said they did not believe the teenager was a relative of the person who was attacked.
Police found a metal cable lock next to the suspect, Choi said.
According to Attorney General Rob Bonta, the California Department of Justice was investigating the murder.
In the news, it was revealed that a woman with a bloody face, who was apparently the victim of the attack, was being put in an ambulance.
According to fire department spokesman Nicholas Prange, the victim was taken to hospital with moderate to severe injuries. Choi said that she had wounds on her head, arms and face.
The shooting reminded of the July 21, 2018 clash in which LAPD officers accidentally shot and killed a woman in Trader Joe’s market. The officers clashed with a man who, according to authorities, shot his grandmother and girlfriend before leading a police chase that ended when he crashed his car near a market.
A police bullet killed 27-year-old Melida Corado, a store manager’s assistant, as she fled to the store’s entrance upon hearing of the accident.
The suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, took employees and customers hostage for three hours before surrendering, authorities said.
Atkins pleaded not guilty to murder.
Prosecutors discovered that two police officers were acting legally when Atkins opened fire.