Eleven hours after she was kidnapped, the girl and Le were traced to his townhouse on Pistachio Drive. Le saw police through a window and started firing at them. That's when a special officer unit broke in and confronted Le.
"He was holding the victim with his left arm, which he had a knife in it, and in his right arm hand, he held a pistol; he began firing at the officers towards the rear of the residence," Bureau of Investigation Acting Chief Edgardo Garcia said.
The gun was a 9mm Magnum. Police later discovered that the pistol is designed to shoot blank rounds.
Police Chief Chris Moore said officers were justified in returning fire.
"It is designed to look and function just as a firearm would be; it does, in fact, eject spent casings, there is a muzzle flash, so if you're on the other end of this particular weapon, you're not going to know what it is," Moore said.
The kidnapping happened around 1:20 a.m. early Friday morning at a house shared by the girl's mother, grandfather and several others.
Le had shown up searching for Kim Nguyen, his former girlfriend. She wasn't there. That's when Le took the girl.
Nguyen told police of domestic violence during their four-year relationship.
Experts say the risk of violence can increase after a separation.
"When someone leaves a domestic violence relationship, basically the perpetrator is losing control, and that's the most chance of high risk of being injured or someone else being injured," Next Door Solutions spokesperson Patty Bennett said.
Police don't know yet if drugs or alcohol may have been factors in the kidnapping and assault of the girl. An autopsy is being done on Le to find out.