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Footage shows LAPD officer firing shots that killed a suspect and a teen girl in a dressing room

The Los Angeles Police Department on Dec. 27 released video footage of a Dec. 23 shooting in which an officer killed a 14-year-old girl inside a dressing room. (Video: Los Angeles Police Department)
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An earlier version of this report, which relied on information from Los Angeles police, said Valentina Orellana-Peralta had been trying on quinceañera dresses when she was fatally shot in a dressing room. Her family later said she was trying on Christmas clothes.

The Los Angeles Police Department on Monday released video footage from a shooting Thursday in which an officer killed a teen girl inside a clothing store after firing at an assault suspect, who also died.

Valentina Orellana-Peralta, 14, was fatally shot while inside a North Hollywood Burlington clothing store’s dressing room with her mother, trying on Christmas clothes, the Los Angeles Times reported. Officers fatally shot the suspect, later identified as 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, and struck the wall behind him. Orellana-Peralta was on the other side.

On Monday, the LAPD released body-camera footage of the shooting, as well as store surveillance video and the 911 calls.

One 911 call is from a store employee who described Lopez as a “hostile customer” who was going around the store, searching for people to attack with a bike lock. The caller said the man may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Another 911 caller said Lopez had a gun; others were unsure, according to the calls.

The Burlington footage shows Lopez entering the store about 11 a.m. on a bike, wearing a black sleeveless top and shorts and looping his bike lock around one of his shoulders. Later, he is wearing a coat, pants and different shoes.

Lopez paces near second-floor escalators, growing increasingly erratic and twice holding his bicycle aloft as people walk near the entrance below.

He attacks objects in the store before employees confront him, then he assaults shoppers with what a police officer narrating much of the footage calls a “heavy-duty cable lock.”

Store and body-camera footage show at least 11 officers responding to the scene with weapons drawn shortly after 11:45 a.m. as Lopez attacked shoppers, according to Capt. Stacy Spell, a spokesperson for the department.

As police climb the escalator, calling for witnesses to come to them and yelling that a person was down, body-camera footage shows an officer asking his peers to move out of the way so he can get by with his rifle.

“He’s hitting her now on the right side,” one of the officers calls out.

Within seconds, the officer with the rifle raises his weapon as a trail of blood enters view, leading to a woman on the floor.

“She’s bleeding! She’s bleeding!” he tells his colleagues.

That woman was the third whom Lopez had attacked, according to Spell.

Video shows Lopez approaching the unidentified woman from behind as she pushes a shopping cart, then he repeatedly strikes her head with his bike lock. The woman tries to get away, but Lopez pulls her arm and brings her down into a walkway. As the woman lies on the ground, Lopez unleashes more blows before dragging her into the aisle where he would be shot by police.

Lopez, at the end of an aisle filled with picture frames and calendar items, ducks to his side as the officer fires three shots, causing him to fall to the ground.

Muffled screaming is heard almost immediately after the shots; Lopez remains on the ground with officers commanding him to roll onto his stomach.

Orellana-Peralta’s parents will hold a news conference Tuesday at LAPD headquarters, according to her father’s attorney Ben Crump.

They will demand “transparency from the Los Angeles Police Department following the fatal shooting of their daughter,” said a news release from Crump’s office.

A representative for Burlington Stores did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement Friday that he was “profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life.” He added: “I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family.”

The officer who fired the fatal shot, who has not been identified, has been placed on paid leave pending a review, the department said.

14-year-old identified as girl killed by police in Los Angeles store dressing room

The shooting outraged many, hitting especially hard in the North Hollywood Latino community where Orellana-Peralta’s death echoed that of another young Latina killed by police less than four years ago.

When Orellana-Peralta’s death was reported Thursday, Albert Corado, whose sister was killed by a police officer in July 2018, told The Washington Post that friends and family members immediately circulated the information. “My dad texted me to say, ‘Look, this is what happened to Mely,’ ” said Corado, who called news of the 14-year-old girl’s death “traumatic and triggering.”

Melyda Corado, 27, was fatally shot by an LAPD officer outside the Trader Joe’s grocery where she worked as police were pursuing a shooting suspect who later took hostages in the store.

“To be transported back to what happened, and then think about now what this family is going through — I feel for [Orellana-Peralta’s] family,” Corado said Monday, before the Burlington footage was released. “Not one thing has changed from the moment Mely was killed to the moment Valentina was killed.”

Woman killed during Trader Joe’s standoff was shot by police, not the gunman, chief says

Last December, an investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office determined that the officer responsible for Melyda Corado’s fatal shooting acted “lawfully” and would not face charges. In May, Gene Evin Atkins, the shooting suspect being pursued by police during the 2018 incident, was charged with murder after prosecutors deemed him “criminally responsible” for her death.

Albert Corado fears the Orellana-Peralta family will endure what he deemed a lack of accountability for police officers who use deadly force. Prosecuting Atkins for his sister’s death allows police to “wash their hands” of responsibility to change or reexamine policies regarding use of force or de-escalation, Corado said.

“We’re living in a post-George Floyd world. For this to happen still and for police to take the same line is absurd,” Corado said. “They think it’s the price to pay for having police: In their efforts to keep us safe, sometimes people die. That’s not good enough.”

‘Warrior mindset’ police training proliferated. Then, high-profile deaths put it under scrutiny.

More than 900 people have been killed by police in 2021, according to data tracked by The Post. LAPD officers have shot more people in 2021 — 37 people, 17 fatally — than in either of the past two years, according to the L.A. Times.

Corado said Moore, the police chief, had assured the family that the department would do everything it could to get to the bottom of what happened in Melyda Corado’s death but never pledged policy changes. Corado said communication dropped off once the family filed a wrongful-death claim against the city.

Corado, who is running for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, said police are eager to give a platform to victims — so long as they’re not victims of police violence.

“Police love nothing more than to trot out victims of crime to have their say,” Corado said of residents affected by thefts and burglaries. “But families like ours have never gotten that. And we need to have that conversation.”

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