LA Cop's Bullet Killed Toddler

Crime scene tape surrounds an area still under investigation by Los Angeles police Monday, July 11, 2005, where a toddler was shot and killed on Sunday, July 10, when her father used her as a shield in a gun battle with police in South Los Angeles. The man, identified as Jose Raul Lemos, also died in the hours-long standoff and an officer was wounded. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
A toddler whose father held her as a shield during a gun battle with police died of a single gunshot fired from a police officer's rifle, authorities said.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey released the autopsy reports of 19-month-old Suzie Pena and her father Jose Pena, 34, who were both killed Sunday in the hours-long shootout at Pena's auto repair business.

The girl died from a single gunshot wound to the head, and her father died of multiple gunshot wounds, the reports said.

A toxicological examination to determine whether Pena had drugs or alcohol in his system will take several weeks, Harvey said.

"Our hearts, prayers, thoughts go out to the family, particularly the mother," Police Chief William Bratton said at a news conference Wednesday.

Although Bratton has adamantly maintained that Pena was responsible for his and his daughter's deaths, he said the realization that it was a police officer who actually shot the girl was hard to take.

"Believe me, as chief of police, and for the officers involved, it is very tough to deal with that," Bratton said.

Luis Carrillo, one of the attorney's representing the girl's family, said the autopsy results did not come as any surprise.

"It only confirmed their worst fears," Carrillo said. "The family has been in shock since their little angel was taken from them, and it's compounded by the fact by those officers who are there to protect us weren't able to protect this girl."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for