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LASD - Norwalk Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff
Thursday February 9th, 2017 :: 09:00 a.m. PST


Stray Bullet Case Solved by Norwalk Station Detectives in Shooting of 12 year-old Girl, Norwalk

On Monday, November 28, 2016, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a 12 year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet in the 14000 block of Jersey Avenue in Norwalk.  The bullet fell from the sky and struck the girl on her forehead. The impact of the bullet caused extensive non-life threatening trauma to the girl’s eyebrow and eyelid.  The injury was significant enough to transport her to a local hospital for treatment.
Initially, it was unclear how the girl was injured. Witnesses did not see or hear anything that would have explained the unforeseen injury.  However, after a forty caliber bullet was found inside the girl’s backpack, the authorities were alerted.  Norwalk Station Detective Bureau, led by Detective Mark Christiansen, conducted an extensive investigation with the bullet being the only item of evidentiary value.  Detective Christiansen researched projectile patterns and the velocity of bullets fired in the air.  He scrutinized calls for service in an effort to identify any information which would explain where the bullet came from.  Unfortunately, all the diligent investigative work failed to uncover any clues in solving the case.
On January 24, 2017, at approximately 9:50 a.m. detectives got a huge break in the case when the station received a call for service of gunshots heard in the area of Gard Avenue in Norwalk.  Patrol deputies respond to the area and located expended shell casings in the street.  Based on witness statements, deputies detained a suspect near the scene.  The suspect was in possession of a loaded forty caliber handgun.  While Detective Christiansen collaborated with the deputy assigned to the call- Deputy Pantoja, something resonated with him.  The caliber of bullet, the proximity of the gunfire, and the time of the incident lead him to immediately think of the injured girl. 
A visual comparison of the forty caliber bullet recovered on November 28, 2016 and a bullet retrieved from the suspect’s handgun showed striking similarities.   This necessitated a forensic examination by the Los Angeles Regional Crime Lab.  The hard work and dedication of Norwalk Station personnel paid off.  The ballistic report confirmed the bullet which struck the girl was fired from the suspect’s forty caliber handgun.  With the ballistic confirmation, 35 year-old Andres Ruiz, a resident of Norwalk, was charged with Discharge of a Firearm in a Gross Negligent Manner with special allegation of Great Bodily Injury.  On February 2, 2017, the suspect plead no contest to the charge and was sentenced to 52 months in state prison.
The 12 year-old girl continues to recover from her injuries.  
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wants everyone to know shooting into the air is not only irresponsible, but a felony-level crime.  The adage of "what goes up, must come down" rings especially true in this case.  The danger of injuring someone with firing even a single round into the air is a lethal prospect.  Each year, tragic reports nationwide tell of unsuspecting victims being struck and tragically injured by falling bullets.
Detective Christiansen will be available at Norwalk Station, 12335 Civic Center Drive, today, February 9, 2017 between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for any media inquiries.
* Norwalk Sheriff’s Station polices the City of Norwalk, the City of La Mirada, and unincorporated communities of Sunshine Acres, South Whittier and East Whittier. *
Authored by:
Lieutenant Smitson
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
12335 Civic Center Drive
Norwalk, CA 96050
(562) 863-8711
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LASD - Norwalk Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff
12335 Civic Center Dr
Norwalk, CA 90650

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Non-emergencies: 562-863-8711

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