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California Briefing / Los Angeles

Girl, 8, shot in gunfire exchange

March 09, 2009|Kenneth R. Weiss

An 8-year-old girl was shot during an exchange of gunfire between a suspected drug dealer and narcotics officers Sunday night about eight blocks west of Staples Center, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.

The gunfire erupted after officers watched one of three suspects emerge from a vehicle in an alleyway between Washington Boulevard and 18th Street near Westmoreland Avenue, said Officer Karen Smith, an LAPD spokeswoman.

"One of the suspects fired on the officers and the officers fired back," Smith said. The gunfire struck the girl, who was standing next to a nearby tree, in the chest.

She was taken to a hospital, underwent surgery and is listed in stable condition, Smith said.

"We believe the victim was hit by the suspect's gunfire because of the trajectory of the bullets," Smith said.

The suspects fled the scene and have not yet been found.

-- Kenneth R. Weiss

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