LB police investigating case of 11-year-old girl who died after fight with classmate

On Friday, Feb. 24, at approximately 5:50pm, Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officers responded to a local hospital after being notified that a 10-year-old female who was unconscious and not breathing but showed no visual signs of trauma to her body had been brought into the emergency room (ER) by her family. She was treated by ER staff and taken in for emergency surgery. She was placed in ICU in critical condition, and at approximately 8:50pm, in spite of the hospital staff’s efforts, was pronounced deceased.
As Long Beach Police began investigating, it was learned that the decedent, a student at Willard Elementary, had been involved in a physical altercation with a female classmate. It was determined that after school, the two girls, and approximately seven onlookers, walked to a nearby alley to engage in a pre-planned fight. “We believe the fight lasted less than one minute, did not involve any weapons, and that no one was knocked to the ground,” according to Lisa Pratt, public information officer for the LBPD. “Once the fight was over, both girls left the location and went their separate ways.”
Detectives have identified the involved classmate and interviewed her, along with the multiple onlookers. Detectives are also attempting to identify anyone who had knowledge of the events leading up to the fight or any additional witnesses to the fight. What the girls may have been fighting over is still under investigation.
As of press time, the death has been ruled as an undetermined one, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office will determine the official cause of death. On Monday morning, the LBPD released the name of the girl as being Joanna Ramos, and the Coroner’s Office released preliminary findings regarding the autopsy.
The LBPD conducted a news conference regarding the incident on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 9pm at the department’s headquarters. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Deputy Chief Robert Luna, and Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Chris Steinhauser spoke during the press conference.
“There are times when words don’t work to convey our sense of sadness, and this is one of them,” Foster said. “Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragic event yesterday that resulted in the death of an 11-year old girl from Long Beach. It is hard to understand how this could ever happen. And if you are like me, you are thinking of your daughter or your grandchildren, and mindful of how precious life really is. All of us are anxious to get answers from the investigation in hopes that they will help us make some sense of this heartbreak.”
The LBPD will continue to conduct interviews and gather facts and will present its findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, along with the coroner’s findings. The District Attorney’s Office will review the case and ultimately determine if any charges will be filed.
At this point, no arrests have been made in the case. Detectives have spoken with family members and friends of both girls, and no one has alleged or provided any information that the decedent was being bullied. None of the students interviewed thus far has informed detectives that school officials were made aware of the impending fight.
The LBPD’s Homicide Detail will continue investigating the incident to determine if a crime occurred. Anyone who may have information regarding this investigation, who hasn’t already spoken with detectives, should contact the Homicide Detail at (562) 570-7244.

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