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Coroner: Toddler killed by LAPD bullet

Police say gunman used daughter as shield

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Los Angeles (California)
Police

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The 19-month-old toddler who died during a gunfire exchange between police and her father was killed by a single police bullet to the head, the Los Angeles County coroner said Wednesday.

The report said it came from a Los Angeles Police Department officer's rifle.

The girl's father, Jose Raul Pena, died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner said.

Pena, 34, was holding his daughter Suzy when he opened fire on police last Sunday, unleashing 40 shots in three separate exchanges. He and his daughter died in a hail of gunfire after he confronted police in an alley behind his apartment.

A total of 11 officers fired nearly 90 shots at Pena.

Chief William Bratton said Monday that Pena "left the officers no choice."

The LAPD's internal investigative unit was looking into the shooting, and its findings will be reviewed by the district attorney's office and the civilian Police Commission.

In a timeline offered by Bratton, the incident began at 2 p.m. when Pena's estranged wife made a domestic terrorist report, accusing him of threatening her, his 17-year-old stepdaughter and the toddler.

At that time, officers could not find him, Bratton said.

About two hours later, the stepdaughter called 911 from Pena's auto dealership to report that he had threatened her, Bratton said.

Before police arrived, a dispatcher called back, and the stepdaughter answered, but the call abruptly ended, Bratton said.

After 4 p.m., shortly after officers arrived, Pena began shooting, using the toddler as a shield, Bratton said.

The 17-year-old stepdaughter escaped, later telling police that Pena was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol and had threatened to kill her, the toddler, his wife and himself, Bratton said.

Though crisis negotiators were able to talk by telephone with Pena at 5 p.m., he ended the call about 5:35 p.m., Bratton said.

At about 6:30 p.m., in the last of the shootings, Pena and the baby were killed.

Sunday's incident was only the second time in the 38-year history of the SWAT team that a hostage died during a standoff involving the unit, Bratton said. In the last incident, in the 1970s, the victim was killed by the hostage-taker, he said.

CNN's Stan Wilson contributed to this story.

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