A 14-year-old girl has accidentally been killed by a police officer who was responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon.
Officers opened fire towards the suspect, who died at the scene, but came across the dead girl in a changing room while they searched for additional suspects or victims.
In a post shared on Twitter, the LAPD media relations office said that one of the officer’s rounds ‘penetrated a wall that was behind the suspect, [and] beyond that wall was a dressing room.’
An LAPD source told The Los Angeles Times that the teenager had been trying on dresses for a quinceañera when she was hit by the fatal shot; an incident police chief Michel Moore has described as ‘devastating and tragic’.
He commented: ‘It’s just absolutely heartbreaking, and I cannot find words to try to comfort a mother and a family, but I will ensure them and the public and our people that we will conduct a complete and thorough investigation.’
The violence prompted many people to question what led the police to open fire, with the state attorney general immediately launching a probe of the shooting to find out what happened. Authorities said they have found a metal cable next to the suspect, but that no gun was recovered.
Another woman who was injured during the altercation was taken to a trauma centre, though her condition is not immediately known.
Once the Department of Justice’s investigation is complete, findings will reportedly be turned over to the department’s special prosecutions section for independent review.
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The Los Angeles Times