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Party Bus Shooting Victim Sues City
By Jorge Casuso
November 29, 2018 -- The friends and relatives of a woman killed in a 2017 shoot-out involving two party buses near the Santa Monica Pier have sued the City and the company that owned the bus.
The plaintiffs in the negligence lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court include victims De'Ommie De La Cruz's mother, brother, sister-in-law and two-year-old daughter, according to a report by City News Service.
De la Cruz, 28, was struck by a stray bullet shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, November 3 after returning to the bus from a bathroom break with friends .
Several passengers from another party bus got into a confrontation with a passenger on De La Cruz's bus and shots were exchanged, according to police.
After firing shots into De La Cruz’s bus, two or three men fled westbound in Palisades Park and jumped over a railing towards Pacific Coast Highway, police said.
The suspects have not been caught.
Five friends who were on the bus to celebrate De La Cruz's birthday are also suing, according to City News. They allege they suffered from emotional distress after witnessing their friend's death.
According to the suit, the driver of De La Cruz's bus drove to the Santa Monica Police Station where passengers asked police to help the victim, who was laid on the ground.
The suit claims that "officers stood around the decedent, rendering no aid." De la Cruz later died at a local hospital.
When other passengers asked to use the police station restroom they were told to sit on the ground, "as if they were criminals," so their photos could be taken, the suit states.
City officials could not be reached for comment by deadline.
A press release issued by the Police Department after the shooting said “an involved bus drove to the Santa Monica Public Safety Facility (PSF) with additional gunshot victims on board.
“Santa Monica Fire Department Paramedics responded and treated the victims," according to the release.
"Three victims were treated and transported to a local hospital for treatment. A fourth victim suffered minor injuries; but was not transported to the hospital.”
Lion Limousine, the company that owned the bus, was sued for allowing an incompetent or unfit driver to operate the bus.
According to the lawsuit the driver pulled into a parking lot near the pier after De La Cruz and her friends asked for a bathroom break.
The victim and her friends were hesitant after seeing passengers on the other bus who looked liked gang members, according to the suit.
They left the bus after the driver told them there would be no more bathroom breaks.
De la Cruz's family set up a GoFundMe page shortly after the shooting.
“DeOmmie was tragically taken from us, leaving behind her precious 2 year old daughter,” the mother, Tomiekia Falconer-De La Cruz, wrote.
“She was only 28 years old. What started out as a fun night with friends turned into my worse nightmare when violence erupted nearby and she was struck with a stray bullet,” she said.
Over the past year, 133 people have contributed $6,740 towards the goal of $15,000 to pay for funeral costs and take care of De La Cruz's daughter.
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