Girl, 14, fatally shot in clothes shop changing room as cops shoot on suspect12/24/2021
A 14-year-old girl has died in a clothes shop changing room after police opened fire on an assault suspect.
The suspect was also fatally shot in the incident which happened at the Burlington store, in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles on Thursday.
Witnesses to the shooting told a local TV station the tragic incident unfolded after a man began acting erratically, threatening to throw items from the upper floor and attacked a woman with a bicycle lock, while the store was busy with Christmas shoppers.
Police arrived after answering reports of an assault and shots being fired, although no gun has been found at the scene, investigators have said.
The suspect died at the store.
But during the incident, one of the bullets fired by police went through a dry-wall behind the man, fatally injuring a teenage girl who was in a changing room with her mum, police said.
Officers found the girl after seeing a hole in ‘a solid wall that you can’t see behind,’ Los Angeles Police Department assistant chief Dominic Choi said.
Investigators did not immediately know whether she was in the dressing room before the violence began or ran in there to hide, he said.
Following the incident, officers are trying to determine whether the assault was random or targeted.
Mr Choi said police did not believe the teenager was related to the person who was attacked.
Police found a heavy metal cable lock near the suspect, he said.
Following the shooting news reports showed a woman with a bloodied face, who appeared to be the assault victim, being placed in an ambulance.
She is understood to have been taken to hospital with moderate to serious injuries to her head, arms and face.
In the wake of the incident, police have promised a ‘transparent investigation’ into what happened and how the teenager came to be killed.
‘This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved,’ Police chief Michel Moore said in a statement.
‘I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family.’
Mr Moore promised a ‘thorough, complete and transparent investigation’ into the shooting and said a critical incident video that will include 911 calls, body camera and other video will be released by Monday.
The California Department of Justice is also investigating the shooting, Attorney General Rob Bonta confirmed.
The names of the girl and the suspect have not yet been released, and the woman who was attacked is not being identified.
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