HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) – The mother of a 17-month-old child was fatally shot Sunday evening outside of the Hawthorne Police Department.
According to Hawthorne Police, the woman was shot and killed during a custody exchange and the child was reportedly safe and in police custody.
Police say the suspect dropped off his child inside the police station around 6 p.m. before grabbing a shotgun out of his vehicle and returning to shoot the victim as she went to retrieve the child.
Officers have since arrested the man suspected of shooting the victim near the 440 block of 134th Street, not far from where the shooting occurred.
The victim was reportedly afraid of the baby’s father and brought family members along with her to the police department to exchange custody of their daughter.
Los Angeles County Fire responded to reports of a shooting just before 6:30 p.m.
Hawthorne Police Department posted to Twitter confirming a female victim was killed in front of the Hawthorne Police Department station and that this is an officer-involved shooting.
Lt. Gary Tomatani told CBSLA, “The officer that was involved in this incident from the Hawthorne Police Department was in the station doing his regular duties and heard what he believed were gunshots. He went out to the front lobby, exited the front door, saw that somebody had been shot and killed directly outside the front door to our station. That person’s family and friends were pointing out a vehicle that was leaving the parking lot.”
Hawthorne Police later confirmed via Twitter that someone had in fact been shot in front of the station and that an officer was involved.
The suspect drove out of the parking lot and drove towards the area of 133 Street and Hawthorne Boulevard before abandoning his vehicle in a Denny’s parking lot.
In a press conference, Lt. Scott Hoaglund said, “I have 30 years with the department and I’ve never seen anything like this before…Typically a police station is a safe place for people to make a child exchange and I would still recommend that people do that.”
As of late Sunday evening, Police were still processing the scene at the entrance to the police department.