L.A. Police Video Shows Officer Shooting That Killed a Bystander, Valentina Orellana-Peralta
Los Angeles Police released video Monday showing them firing on a suspect in assaulting customers at a clothing shop last week. The shooting also claimed the life of a girl, 14, who was hiding inside a dressing area when she was hit by a bullet through a wall.
Los Angeles Police Department uploaded an edited video package that contained 911 calls, radio transmissions and body camera footage. It also included surveillance video of the shooting on Thursday at Burlington’s Christmas store. The department’s policy is to release video from critical incidents, such as police shootings, within 45 days.
Surveillance video showed the suspect attacking two women, including one who fell to the floor before he dragged her by her feet through the store’s aisles as she tried to crawl away.
Many people called the police, along with store workers to report that the man had struck customers using a bicycle lock in the North Hollywood section of San Fernando Valley. The 911 dispatcher received a call from one of the customers claiming that the man had a gun. No firearm—only the bike lock—was recovered at the scene.
The early surveillance footage showed a man in a tank top and shorts carrying a bicycle up the store’s escalator to the second floor, where he wandered around, seemingly disoriented, clutching a cable-style bike lock. Sometimes he was motionless as if staring out into the distance.
Later footage showed the man attacking the woman on the down escalator. The victim managed to escape and ran out of the shop.
Police said that the man fled from the store after a brief period. The video shows that he then returned to beat and threaten a female customer with a bicycle lock as she lay on the floor. As she tried escape, he pulled her along the aisle to the dressing rooms.
Bodycam video shows that armed officers approached the suspect and entered the shop. As the officers marched through the shop in formation, one officer held a gun and was pulled to the front.
Other officers repeatedly said “slow down” and “slow it down” as the officer with the rifle moves forward.
“She’s bleeding!” an officer shouted as they encountered the victim, crawling on the blood-stained floor. On the opposite side, the suspect stood.
“Hold up! Hold up!” another officer screamed just before three shots rang out.
Police said that the officer who was holding the gun fired.
Daniel Elena Lopez was the suspect aged 24, and he died on the spot. Valentina Orellana Peralta (14), was also killed. She was in hiding inside her mother’s dressing room. Her mother’s screams can be heard in the video.
“At this preliminary phase of the investigation, it is believed that the victim was struck by one of the rounds fired by an officer at the suspect,” police Capt. Stacy Spell spoke in the uploaded video. The bullet may have swung off the flooring and hit the wall of the dressing area, according to police.
Spell stated that the investigation is still in its beginnings and could take as long as a year to finish. California Department of Justice is also conducting an investigation.
“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 at this tragic outcome,” Spell said in the video.
The girl’s parents will appear with civil rights attorney Ben Crump at a news conference outside Los Angeles police headquarters on Tuesday.
LAPD officers have shot people 38 people—18 of them fatally, including the shooting Sunday of a man with a knife—in 2021, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Those figures mark a dramatic rise in cases where officers shot or killed people in either of the last two years—27 people were shot and 7 of them killed by LA police in all of 2020. Police shot and killed 26 people in 2019.
As a tribute to Orellana Peralta, mourners left flowers and candles outside the store’s Christmas window.
The Times reported that Elena Lopez’s previous criminal history includes convictions for car theft, carrying a loaded gun in public and carrying a gun as a felon. Because of an LAPD investigation, he was moved to Los Angeles County jail and placed in the custody of state prisons. However, a spokesperson for corrections refused to release the details of his previous commitments to the paper.
A woman was attacked and suffered moderate-to-severe injuries. She also sustained wounds to her arms, face, and head. The victim has yet to be identified publicly.
The shooting recalled a July 21, 2018, confrontation in which LAPD officers accidentally shot and killed a woman at a Trader Joe’s market. The officers engaged in a fight with the man, who is believed to have shot his grandmother as well as his girlfriend. Police then pursued him outside of the market and he was eventually stopped by police.
Police shot and killed Melyda Corado, 27, the assistant store manager, as she ran toward the store’s entrance after hearing the car crash.
Authorities said that Gene Evin Atkins was the suspect who held shoppers and employees hostage for three hours, before finally surrendering to authorities.
Atkins has pleaded guilty not guilty to the crime.
Prosecutors found two police officers acted lawfully when they returned Atkins’ gunfire.