A mother was killed by the father of their child during a custody exchange in front of the Hawthorne Police Department station Sunday, the HPD said.
The 27-year-old mother was killed in front of her son and relatives who were present for the exchange, as the 30-year-old father shot her with a shotgun, LA County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Lt. Scott Hoglund said.
The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. at the entrance to the lobby of the police station, Lt. Gary Tomatani of the HPD said.
The child was already inside the police station when the mother arrived to pick up the 17-month-old, and as she approached, the father approached the mother with a shotgun and fired at least one shot at her, Hoglund said.
The child was not injured in the shooting, and the shotgun was recovered at the site of the shooting, Hoglund said.
Upon hearing the sound of gunshots, officers ran out, Tomatani said. One of the relatives who witnessed the shooting told the officers that the man was driving away, according to a relative at the scene.
The man was able to get away in his car, with police officers shooting at the vehicle, Hoglund said.
A short time later, police said they located the abandoned vehicle near the intersection of 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.
For several hours, police put up a containment zone where they believed the man was trapped and warned the public to stay away.
At approximately 9:15 p.m., police said they had arrested the man within that containment zone.
A person who identified himself as a relative of the victim said that the mother lived in Menifee and the man lived in Simi Valley. He said Hawthorne was a middle ground to exchange the 17-month-old child.
Now, the LASD will take over the investigation.
Earlier on Sunday, another officer-involved shooting in Hawthorne resulted in an officer being struck by gunfire and wounded.