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Girl's family wants LAPD shooting details

March 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Police Dept. insists officers did not shoot a young girl during a gun battle with a drug suspect. LAPD blames the suspect. But the girl's legal guardian is asking for more information about the investigation.

Eight-year-old Alicia Mendoza is recovering at home after being shot in the chest Sunday night, but her family says she is suffering from nightmares.

Wednesday, her family is calling on the LAPD to "be honest about whether it was a suspect's or police officer's bullet" that struck the young girl, Alicia Mendoza.

"She used to be a happy person," said Carina Ramirez. "Happy little girl and everything. Always running around the house. Now she's just laying down.

"They haven't even told us who they have in custody," said Ramirez. "We don't know if they have someone so we don't know nothing of what happened, and that's all I'm asking for. For them to be honest with us. To tell us what's going on."

The 8-year-old girl was shot in the chest Sunday night in North University Park when undercover narcotics officers got into a shootout with a group of suspects. The LAPD says the bullet that hit Mendoza came from one of the suspect's guns, but attorney Luis Carrillo disputes that.

"It appears that, preliminarily, the shooting was north and south," said Carillo. "Yet the bullet that hit the little girl flew from east to west. It doesn't make sense. However the family is kept in the dark, not knowing what really happened."

Carrillo says the LAPD's preliminary findings conflicts with what three witnesses reported seeing. Carrillo is calling on the LAPD to tell the family what they know, and to explain why they opened fire in a residential area on a Sunday night when children are playing outside.

"There's a lot of little kids there," said Carina Ramirez. "They should realize that there were kids around when it's a Sunday, when kids come out and play with their friends and everything."

Wednesday afternoon the LAPD released this statement: "We are confident in our original statement that the gunfire that injured the girl came from the suspect. We are still waiting for the scientific tests to get back. But the physical evidence and trajectories are very clear."

The suspects reportedly drove away in a Toyota sedan.


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