A Los Angeles police officer opened fire on a man involved in an assault at a clothing store on Thursday, and one of the shots pierced a wall, killing a 14-year-old girl in a locker room, the report said. police.
The shooting took place at a Burlington store in North Hollywood during the peak holiday shopping season after police received reports around 11:45 a.m. of an assault with a deadly weapon and possible gunfire, said the police. Some of the callers said they were hiding in the store, police said.
When police arrived, they went upstairs and found a man assaulting a woman, police said. Police opened fire, killing the man, whose name was not immediately released, police said.
Officers found a heavy metal lock near the man but no weapon, Dominic H. Choi, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, told a press conference.
A woman who was assaulted was taken to hospital with head and arm injuries, Chief Choi said. His relationship with the suspect was not immediately known, he said.
As officers continued to search the store, they noticed a hole in the wall, Chief Choi said. Behind the wall, they found the 14-year-old girl who had been shot dead in the locker room.
The teenager was in the locker room with her mother, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore told LAist.com, adding that the shooting was “the worst thing you can imagine.” Police did not immediately release the girl’s name.
Chief Choi described the encounter as a “tragic and unfortunate sequence of events” and said it was still under investigation. He said the investigation indicated that the girl was shot dead by police.
“As a preliminary point, we think this round was an officer round,” he said.
He said investigators have yet to review body camera video or store security camera footage, although it appears the locker room has been in the officer’s sights.
“The locker room was behind where the suspect was, in front of the officer,” Chief Choi said, adding, “You can’t see into the locker room. It looks like a straight wall of drywall.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the California Department of Justice is investigating the shooting.
Once the investigation is complete, it will be forwarded to the special prosecutions section of the California Department of Justice for review, he said.
Burlington, formerly known as the Burlington Coat Factory, said in a statement it supported authorities in their investigation.
“In Burlington, our hearts are heavy following the tragic incident that occurred today at our store in North Hollywood, California,” the company said. “Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our customers and associates. “
Azi Paybarah contributed report.