NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Cali. — Police shot and killed a man suspected of assault inside a North Hollywood store on Thursday. Authorities say they believe an officer’s round also went through a dressing room wall, killing a 14-year-old girl.
The incident took place around 11:45 a.m. at a Burlington department store that is part of a chain formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Police initially received a call about an assault with a deadly weapon, then received additional calls indicating there was a shooting in progress, LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said in an afternoon briefing.
Officers arrived at the location and began looking for a gunman.
“While conducting that search for the suspect, the officers encountered an individual who was in the process of assaulting another, and an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Spell said, adding that officers opened fire when they saw the suspect assaulting another person. “The suspect was struck by gunfire.”
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded and declared two people dead at the scene.
One of the people who died was the suspect, who was shot and killed by police, according to LAPD.
The second person was a 14-year-old girl, who was found later, according to LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi.
When officers were shooting at the suspect, one of the rounds fired is believed to have penetrated a wall behind the suspect, authorities say. Beyond that wall was a dressing room, and when officers searched the area, they found the girl deceased, police explained in a later briefing.
“You can’t see into the dressing rooms and it just looks like a straight wall of drywall,” Choi said.
Additionally, the woman who was allegedly assaulted by the suspect had moderate-to-serious injuries to her head, arms, and face, police said. She was taken to a trauma center. It wasn’t immediately known if she’d been shot.
Police said they found a heavy metal cable lock near the suspect, but it was not yet clear what weapon was used when he allegedly assaulted the woman.
Throughout the day, anxious family members gathered outside in the parking lot, hoping to hear from their loved ones inside — both customers and workers who witnessed the incident and who were being interviewed by authorities.
Investigators still haven’t disclosed if it was a targeted or random attack.
“Right now there is an indication of one suspect,” Spell said.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and surveillance footage will be reviewed. No further details were immediately available.