Los Angeles Police Fatally Shoot 14-Year-Old in Changing Room While Firing at a Suspect

A 14-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed through a dressing room wall in a store Thursday while Los Angeles police were shooting at a man they suspected of committing assault against another woman, officials announced.

Officers were responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon and alleged shots fired Thursday morning near a North Hollywood Burlington store, Los Angeles Police Captain Stacy Spell said at a press conference.

Officers began shooting at the male suspect, who has not yet been named, when he was seen committing the assault. Spell said the suspect was shot and killed in the incident.

While officers were investigating the scene after the shots were fired, the 14-year-old girl, who has also not been named, was found dead with gunshot wounds in a dressing room.

LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi said it is unknown if the girl was inside the dressing room before the incident began, or if she ran in the room to hide when gunshots were heard.

The woman who was the victim of the initial assault was transported to a local hospital with « moderate to serious » injuries to her head, arms and face, according to Choi and Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson Nicholas Prange.

It is still unknown if the assault victim was shot and that was the source of the initial shots fired reports, and it is unclear if the male suspect had a clear motive or if he knew the woman.

Police officers work near a broken glass door at the scene where two people were struck by gunfire in a shooting at a Burlington in North Hollywood, Calif. Thursday.
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

« You can’t see into the dressing rooms and it just looks like a straight wall of drywall, » Choi said at a second news conference.

Police found a heavy metal cable lock near the suspect that they say may have been used in that assault.

Spell said the injured woman was the victim in the first assault report. It was not immediately clear what weapon was involved in that assault.

He added that police had received calls about the suspect acting erratically before the incident.

Imelda Garcia told The Associated Press her sister works in the store and was on break when she heard gunshots and everyone started running. Garcia said she spoke to her sister on the phone and that she’s OK but sounded « really nervous. »

Police escorted people out of the store nearly two hours after the shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Yellow police tape is seen at the scene where two people were struck by gunfire in a shooting at a Burlington store in North Hollywood, California Thursday.
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

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