LAPD Releases Video of Officer’s Shooting That Killed 14-Year-Old Inside Burlington Store And Expresses Regret
The LAPD Monday released body camera and security camera video of the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta by an officer inside the Burlington clothing store in North Hollywood last week. The officer, who has not been named, was aiming at a man suspected of assaulting someone when one of his bullets passed through a wall into the fitting room where Orellana-Peralta was with her mother.
The man who allegedly had committed an assault, Daniel Elena Lopez, 24, was also shot and killed. Officers shot at Lopez after finding him “a short distance away” from a woman who was suffering from “various injuries and bleeding,” according to an LAPD statement.
Officers arriving at the store around 11:30 a.m. Thursday were expecting a possible shooting, according to the statement. They “received multiple radio calls from the same location that there was a possible shooting in progress and that there were individuals sheltering in place.”
The video released by the LAPD compiles a number of different elements from the incident: store surveillance video, audio of the 911 calls and raw and edited footage from the officer's body-worn cameras. The video is narrated by LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell.
On one 911 call released, a woman who identifies herself as a store employee can be heard frantically describing the man, saying the suspect has no gun. Another says he has a gun and has fired it. The employee can be heard during customers to "run, run, run."
Security video shows Elena-Lopez coming into the store around 11 a.m. with his bike. He rides up an escalator and roams the upstairs, putting on a jacket, then dropping off his bike at the top of the escalator before riding back down.
As he does, he strikes a woman with what police are describing as a heavy-duty cable lock. He throws her to the ground at the bottom of the escalator. She escapes. He attacks another woman, who is able to break his grasp and run away.
At one point he takes his pants off.
Minutes later, Elena-Lopez is seen back on the second floor attacking a third woman. He repeatedly strikes her in the face with the lock. The video shows him dragging her down an aisle. She has a bloody face.
Body-worn camera video then shows officers arriving outside, going to the second floor and walking toward Elena-Lopez.
One officer can be heard describing where he is: “He’s hiding to the right, near the fitting rooms.”
Officers coming down the aisle can see blood. One officer can be heard saying "She's bleeding. She's bleeding."
One officer’s body cam shows the officer holding an assault rifle as he looks up an aisle. The woman who was attacked is lying on the floor, bloodied. Elena-Lopez is seen at the end of the aisle holding the lock. He is not within reaching distance of the woman who he had attacked. There is a wall behind him. As he turns to move away, the officer, without warning, fires three shots.
Directly behind Elena-Lopez is the dressing room where Orellana-Peralta is with her mother.
When officers approach the man on the ground, you can see that he is at the entrance to a dressing room area with the sign "6 items please" on the wall. As officers detain the man, who is ordered onto his stomach, you can see other officers enter the dressing area.
No footage of the dressing room was included. The video also includes multiple shots of the incident edited together and a slowed-down version of the actual shooting.
Spell also says: “We at the LAPD would like to express our most heartfelt condolences and profound regret for the loss of this innocent victim Valentina Orellana-Peralta. There are no words that can describe the depth of the sorrow we feel for this tragic outcome."
The Timing Of Release
The release of the video just four days after the shooting on orders from Chief Michel Moore comes well before the 45-day deadline set by state law.
In an interview with LAist on the day of the shooting, Moore said officers are expected to quickly respond to threats “and to do everything possible to stop that threat from continuing, as far as the surroundings and innocent bystanders. He called the shooting “tragic.”
In addition to the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division, the Los Angeles County District Attorney and California Attorney General are investigating the shooting. Under a new law that took effect this year, the attorney general investigates the shooting of all unarmed people by police.
In 2018, LAPD officers shot and killed Trader Joe's store manager Melyda Corado as they fired at a man who had led pursuing officers on a wild chase ending at the Silver Lake store. At the time, Moore called it a no-win situation and said it was "a heartbreaking reminder of the split-second decisions that officers must make every day."