LAPD releases video of North Hollywood Burlington officer shooting that left 14-year-old girl, assault suspect dead
The Los Angeles Police Department has released footage from inside a North Hollywood Burlington clothing store showing the moment last week when an officer armed with a rifle fired multiple rounds at a man wielding a bike lock, killing him and a 14-year-old girl on the other side of the wall behind him.
“Hey, she’s bleeding! She’s bleeding,” the officer says while walking quickly to an aisle where he sees a woman lying on the ground on the second floor of the store at around noon on Dec. 23.
Cradling the rifle, he approaches the woman and and gets a view of 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez at the opposite end of the aisle. He immediately points his rifle at Lopez, who flinches and tries to duck. That’s when the officers fires three times.
“Shots fired!” the officer yells as Lopez falls to the ground. A moment later, a woman screams in agony from somewhere else in the store.
As other officers surround Lopez, one officer quickly realizes the screams are coming from inside the dressing room just in front of them. Then the body worn camera footage ends.
On the day of the shooting, LAPD officials said the officers found the body of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta inside a stall in that dressing room. Reports indicated Orellana-Peralta was there with her mother shopping for dresses when she was shot.
The footage from the officer who fired the rifle — which shows him arming himself in the parking lot, walking up the escalator to the second floor to join a group of officers already searching the store — makes up less than three minutes of a nearly 35-minute video analysis of the shooting LAPD released this week.
But the moments captured in that short segment will be pored over by investigators, critics of the department and community members trying to understand why Orellana-Peralta was killed.
Parts of the video contradict LAPD statements hours after the shooting Thursday.
On that day, LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi told reporters that the officers inside the store could not have known there were people inside the dressing rooms located behind where Lopez was standing when he was shot.
In the footage, however, one officer walking just behind the officer with the rifle spots Lopez. He can be heard shouting that Lopez was “hidden behind, to the right.”
“Near the fitting rooms,” that officer says.
LAPD is still investigating the shooting. At the end of the investigation, the chief of police and Police Commission will determine whether any of the officers will face discipline. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office also reviews all police shootings in the county for potential criminal charges.
The officer who fired the rifle has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, and LAPD spokesman said Monday.
Family of Orellana-Peralta released a statement Monday calling for criminal charges to be filed against the officer who killed her.
“We demand that the police body camera footage is released, Burlington store camera footage is released, and that involuntary manslaughter charges are levied against the officers who wrecklessly opened fire and shot and killed an innocent 14 year old child,” the family wrote Monday before LAPD released the video.
On a GoFundMe page for a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the girl’s funeral, the family said Orellana-Peralta and her mother had just recently immigrated to the United States from Chile “with the goal of a better life in California.”
“The Chilean family is faced with travel costs and burdens, funeral costs, potentially legal expenses and other kinds of incidentals,” they wrote.
“There is no amount of money that can bring our Valentina back, or to comfort her grieving mother, father and older sister, but we want her immediate family to be relieved from any financial restraints that might make this mourning process even harder.”
WARNING: The video below is graphic and shows a violent incident.