Los Angeles police on Thursday shot dead a 14-year-old girl who was in the locker room of a clothing store as she shot a suspect who assaulted a woman earlier, authorities said.
The suspect was also killed in the police shooting, authorities said. The woman who was assaulted was taken to hospital with moderate to severe injuries.
The shots were fired at around 11:45 a.m. at a Burlington Coat Factory store in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley.
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Police first responded to reports that someone had been assaulted with a deadly weapon as well as reports of gunfire, Los Angeles Police Captain Stacy Spell said at a press conference . Spell said officers opened fire when they saw the suspect assault another person.
The suspect was shot and killed by officers, Spell said.
One of the bullets went through a locker room wall and hit the 14-year-old girl, according to LAPD deputy chief Dominic Choi. Officers later found her inside.
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“You can’t see in the locker room and it looks like a straight wall of drywall,” Choi said at a second press conference.
Investigators do not yet know if the teenager was in the locker room before the violence started or if he rushed there to hide, he said.
Choi said authorities did not yet know the man’s motive or whether he knew the woman he initially assaulted in the store.
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Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange said the woman suffered moderate to severe injuries and was taken to hospital. It was not immediately clear whether she was shot, but Choi said she had injuries to her head, arms and face.
Police found a heavy metal anti-theft cable near the suspect who they believe may have been used in the assault.
Spell said the injured woman was the victim of the first report of the assault. It was not immediately clear which weapon was involved in this assault.
He added that police had received calls about the suspect acting erratically prior to the incident.
Imelda Garcia said her sister was working in the store and was on a break when she heard gunshots and everyone started running. Garcia said she spoke to her sister on the phone and was fine but looked “really nervous”.
Police escorted people out of the store nearly two hours after the shooting.
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