The Los Angeles Police Department released video footage Monday showing the moment when an officer fatally shot 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta while firing three rifle rounds at an assault suspect inside a Burlington Coat Factory store in North Hollywood.
Orellana-Peralta was with her mother trying on clothes in a Burlington dressing room on Thursday when she was shot and killed by an officer whose name has yet to be released by the LAPD. Police said Monday that a bullet bounced off the floor and went through the wall of the dressing room.
The officer also fatally shot 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, who was accused of striking store customers with a bike lock. As The Guardian’s Sam Levin described the scene: “Roughly a dozen officers showed up at once, guns drawn. One officer in charge appears to briefly try to deescalate by saying ‘slow down’ and ‘get distance,’ but as soon as the officer actually sees Daniel, he escalates to lethal force, firing three bullets without pause or commands.”
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“The video did not show the officer assessing whether there were any bystanders before shooting,” Levin observed.
Watch the compilation released by LAPD, which includes body-cam footage, surveillance clips, and audio from 911 calls (warning: the video is disturbing):
The family of Orellana-Peralta, who arrived in the U.S. from Chile just six months ago, has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. Crump and Orellana-Peralta’s parents are expected to hold a press conference Tuesday outside LAPD headquarters as the shooting sparks outrage nationwide.
“Just days before Christmas, Valentina Orellana-Peralta was trying on Quinceañera dresses with her mom when police started shooting at a suspect outside of the dressing rooms. A stray bullet from an officer’s assault rifle struck and killed Valentina,” Crump tweeted Monday. “Her death was preventable!”
The California Department of Justice is investigating the deadly shooting. As of Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times, “LAPD officers had shot at least 37 people in 2021, killing 17 of them — substantially more than they shot or killed in either of the last two years.”
“They have killed four people just in the last week, with two men killed in separate incidents on Saturday, and in the latest incident shot another man Christmas Eve,” the LA Times noted.
Orellana-Peralta’s attorneys on Monday sent the LAPD a letter demanding a transparent probe into Valentina’s killing and warning of possible legal action.
Albert Corado, a Los Angeles City Council candidate whose sister was shot and killed by police officers in 2018, told the LA Times on Friday that “there’s not a lot of will in the LAPD for them to change and there’s not a lot of will in City Hall, in city government, to hold the police accountable.”
“That gives the green light to police to keep doing it,” said Corado.
No officers were charged over the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Melyda Corado in July of 2018.