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California Briefing / Los Angeles

Police seek suspects in shooting of 8-year-old

March 10, 2009|Victoria Kim

Los Angeles police said Monday they were questioning several "persons of interest" in a shootout between officers and suspected drug dealers that left an 8-year-old girl with a gunshot wound in the chest. The girl, who underwent surgery Sunday night, was in stable condition and expected to survive, said Officer Ana Aguirre of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Aguirre said police were looking for one gunman and two other males who were riding in a 1998 four-door Toyota about 7 p.m. Sunday. Undercover narcotics officers were following the car when it suddenly stopped between 18th Street and Washington Boulevard near Westmoreland Avenue. One of the men got out and started shooting at the officers, and the officers returned fire, but none of the suspects appeared to have been hit, Aguirre said. The man got into the car and sped away, she said.

Police said the girl, who lives in the neighborhood, was playing with children about a block away when she was hit by what appeared to be a bullet fired by the suspects. Officers did not pursue the suspects because the child was wounded, Aguirre said. Neither the car nor the weapon had been recovered by Monday morning. Neighbors provided "quite a few leads," and police have interviewed two to four people, but Aguirre said no arrests have been made.

"Because of the nature of the incident involving the 8-year-old, we're hoping there's going to be an arrest soon," Aguirre said.

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-- Victoria Kim

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