Diana Tomas, 14
Diana Tomas, 14, a Latina girl, was shot in the head and left lying on a pathway next to a sound wall blocking the 101 Freeway in LAPD's Rampart Division at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. She was taken from 417 N. Lafayette Park Place near Benton Way to County-USC Medical Center, where she survived for four more days.
Diana's death on Thursday, Dec. 6, is just now being reported on the Homicide Report because she did not die immediately, and because investigators did not know who she was. Thinking she was about 20 years old, Diana was listed as "Jane Doe" at the hospital.
Meanwhile, the same afternoon Diana was shot, her mother had gone to the Rampart station to report her missing. Diana was a Virgil Middle School student who sometimes ran away from home. Officers took the report, not realizing she was the same person then lingering on a respirator at County-USC. Diana had never been arrested, so when she was fingerprinted at the hospital, police could find no match and were unable to identify her.
It took a few more days to put it together. Diana's mother heard a rumor that a young woman had been shot and returned to the station to ask if this might be her daughter. Det. J. Kessner of Rampart drove the mother to the hospital, where she saw her daughter, still alive on life support. Diana's head was so swollen from the gunshot wound that her mother had to walk around both sides of the bed to identify her in what Kessner described as a painful scene. "It was shocking to us when we found out she was 14," said Det. Fred Faustino, Rampart homicide supervisor. Diana died at 9:18 a.m. Dec. 6.
There was new tagging on the sound wall near where she fell. She may have been walking by and been caught in crossfire, Faustino said. Detectives are seeking information on the case. They are at (213) 207-2060.