The California Department of Justice is investigating after Los Angeles police shot and killed a 14-year-old girl inside a Burlington dressing room on Thursday while they attempted to apprehend an assault suspect.
The male suspect was also killed in the shooting. A woman, the victim of the suspect’s assault, was taken to a hospital with moderate-to-severe injuries, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange. It wasn’t immediately known if she’d been shot. She had injuries to her head, face and arms.
The incident happened at about 11:45 a.m. on the second floor of the clothing store in North Hollywood. Police responded to a report of someone being assaulted with a deadly weapon and of shots fired with people sheltering in place, said LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell. Officers opened fire upon locating the suspect.
In a tweet, LAPD said one of the officer’s rounds went through a wall behind the suspect into a dressing room, where officers found a 14-year-old girl who had been struck.
“You can’t see into the dressing rooms and it just looks like a straight wall of drywall,” LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi said at a press conference, adding that it was unclear whether the girl was already inside the dressing room or went there to hide when the violence began.
Authorities did not immediately say if the suspect had a gun. Police found a heavy metal cable lock near the suspect that they say may have been used in that assault.
Choi said the suspect’s motive was not known, and it was unclear whether he knew the assault victim.
Police had received multiple calls about the suspect acting erratically before the incident, Spell said.
FROM OUR EDITOR, TO YOUR INBOX: Editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll takes you behind the scenes of the newsroom in this weekly newsletter
After the state justice department’s investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the special prosecutions section for independent review, said Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department planned to release Monday footage from the store’s closed-circuit cameras and police body-worn cameras, as well as radio calls and other information, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times. He said a full investigation of the shooting will take much longer.
Burlington said in a statement to media outlets that it is supporting authorities in their investigation.
“At Burlington, our hearts are heavy as a result of the tragic incident that occurred today at our North Hollywood, Calif., store,” the company said. “Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our customers and associates.”
Contributing: The Associated Press