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Teen killed in a Los Angeles store after a police officer’s shot penetrates wall of dressing room, officials say

By Topher Gauk-Roger, Andy Rose and Eric Levenson, CNN

A 14-year-old who was in a California department store dressing room with her mother was killed Thursday when police fired at a man suspected of attacking a woman in the store, authorities said.

One of the shots penetrated a wall and struck the girl, Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Dominic Choi told reporters during a news conference.

“Preliminary, we believe that round was an officer’s round,” Choi said.

The man suspected in the attack was also shot and killed by police, Choi said. A steel or metal cable lock was found near the man, and investigators believe it was involved in the assault on the woman, he said. No firearm was recovered from the scene.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said late Thursday that video and other evidence will be released to the public by Monday.

“This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved. I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family,” he said.

“I have directed the release of the critical incident video by Monday, December 27th, which will include the 9-1-1 calls, radio transmissions, body worn video and any CCTV and other evidence gathered at this preliminary stage.”

According to the timeline provided by the LAPD, North Hollywood police officers responded to a radio call at 11:45 a.m. local time for an assault with a deadly weapon in progress at a Burlington store on Victory Boulevard.

On route, they received multiple calls that there was a “possible shooting in progress” and that people were sheltering in place, the LAPD said.

Upon arrival, officers found a female who was bleeding and suffering from various injuries.

The officers then encountered a man suspected in that assault a short distance away and shot at him, the statement said. He was struck by gunfire and declared dead at the scene, authorities said.

Afterward, officers found a hole in the wall behind the man, which turned out to be a changing room. Inside, officers found a 14-year-old girl struck by gunfire and pronounced her dead at the scene, police said.

The woman who was assaulted was transported to a local hospital with head and arm injuries, police said.

The investigation is ongoing, Choi said, and authorities have yet to interview the officers and witnesses.

Police do not believe there was any relation between the three people.

Per state law, the California Department of Justice will investigate the officer-involved shooting, Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

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