By STEFANIE DAZIO, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) – 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, said authorities.

Police also killed the male suspect, authorities said. He and the girl have not been named. The woman who was assaulted was taken to hospital with moderate to severe injuries.

The shots were fired around 11:45 a.m. at a Burlington store – part of a chain formerly known as the Burlington Coat Factory – in the North Hollywood area of ​​the San Fernando Valley.

Police first responded to reports of someone being 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.

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The suspect was shot and killed by officers, Spell said.

One of the bullets went through a wall in the locker room and hit the 14-year-old girl, according to LAPD deputy chief Dominic Choi. Officers later found her inside.

“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.

The California Department of Justice was investigating the shooting, Attorney General Rob Bonta said.

Choi said authorities did not yet know the man’s motive or whether he knew the woman he initially assaulted in the store.

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 that 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.

The shooting was reminiscent of a July 21, 2018 confrontation, in which LAPD agents accidentally shot and killed a woman in a Trader Joe’s market. Officers engaged in a shootout with a man who authorities said shot his grandmother and girlfriend before leading police in a chase that ended when he crashed his car in front of the Marlet.

A police bullet killed Melyda Corado, 27, the deputy store manager, as she ran towards the store entrance after hearing the car crash.

The suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, held employees and buyers hostage for three hours before surrendering, authorities said.

Atkins has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Prosecutors discovered that two police officers were acting legally when they returned the shots from Atkins.

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