LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The city of Los Angeles will pay $40,000 to replace the truck of a mother and daughter who were caught in a hail of bullets after police mistook their pickup for one belonging to renegade ex-policeman Christopher Dorner, officials said on Thursday.
Emma Hernandez, 71, was shot twice in the back and her daughter Margie Carranza, 47, suffered hand injuries from flying debris when they came under fire while delivering newspapers on February 7 in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance.
The shooting of the two women and their truck was an embarrassment for the Los Angeles Police Department as it was widening a manhunt for Dorner that turned into the largest ever in southern California.
Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer accused of having killed four people in a vendetta against the Los Angeles Police Department, died on February 12 in a fiery standoff with police in the mountains above Los Angeles.
The settlement only covers the loss of the two women’s pick-up truck, not any claims for compensation they might make against the city for their wounds, said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office.
“We wanted to do what was right by the two women involved in this incident, as well as by the city,” Mateljan said.
Galpin Ford, a Los Angeles auto dealer and supporter of Los Angeles police, had offered to give the two women a new truck but that was delayed because of tax liabilities for both the women and the company, said the women’s attorney, Glen Jonas.
The $40,000 financial settlement from the city absolves them of tax liability, Mateljan said.
Jonas said that he sent a confidential letter last week to city officials outlining the position of his clients and naming a figure they are seeking in total compensation, which the attorney declined to disclose.
“They are in fear of the police and they’re having a hard time understanding the context in which it happened,” Jonas said.
The two officers who opened fire on the women remain on administrative duty as authorities investigate the shooting, said Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Norma Eisenman.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has apologized to the two women over the shooting. He has also opened a probe into Dorner’s 2008 firing from the LAPD, which the former policeman cited as his motivation for targeting officers and the family of people in the department he felt had wronged him.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham