Teenage girl dies after stray gunfire

A 16-year-old girl riding in a car with her family after attending church was shot to death in Lynwood in what authorities said Thursday was a gang-related shooting targeting someone else.

She was later identified as Dana Rojas Rivas of Hawthorne, according to Lt. Dave Smith of the coroner's office.

The shooting was reported at 9:27 p.m. Wednesday in the 12600 block of Long Beach Boulevard, on the border with Compton, said Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.

Rivas, accompanied by her 18-year-old brother, was riding in the back seat of her family's vehicle with her dog on her lap. As her mother drove east on Euclid Avenue, a possible vehicle-to-vehicle shooting or chase was taking place behind them, said sheriff's Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez.

The intended "target vehicle" was trying to get away from the "suspect vehicle" but was caught in traffic at the light at Euclid Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, Navarro-Suarez said.

A suspect exited the suspect vehicle and began firing multiple shots at the target vehicle, she said. "One of the rounds struck the victim's vehicle, entering through the back panel near the license, striking the girl from behind and into her upper torso," she said.

The suspect vehicle then made a U-turn and fled the scene, west of Euclid Avenue and out of view. The girl's mother realized her daughter had been struck and called paramedics, who pronounced her dead at the scene. The child's mother and brother were not injured, she said.

"Their family pet, a small white, poodle mix dog that sat on their daughter's lap as they returned home from church, ran out of the vehicle scared, when the victim was struck by gunfire," Navarro-Suarez said. "The scared little dog ran onto the street, was struck by oncoming traffic and died at the scene."

The occupants in the "target vehicle," described as a burgundy Saturn SUV, exited the vehicle and ran from the scene in an unknown direction. It was unknown if they were injured.

There was no description of the "suspect vehicle," Navarro-Suarez said, however detectives believe there is possibly more than one suspect involved in the crime.

Sheriff's homicide detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the shooting to call them at (323) 890-5500.

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