The Los Angeles Police Department released on Monday body camera footage of a police shooting that led to the death of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta.
The LAPD had entered a Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood in search of a 24-year-old male assault suspect. The suspect, Daniel Elena-Lopez, had entered the department store with this bike and bike lock, and had begun swinging his bike lock at other people inside the store.
A Burlington employee then frantically called 911:
“I have a hostile customer in my store attacking customers!” she said to dispatchers, adding that “He’s walking around the store looking for people.”
Police arrived at the scene and shot at Lopez. One of the officer’s bullets passed through a wall just past the suspect, behind which Orellana-Peralta had been trying on dresses for her quinceañera, a traditional Latin American celebration honoring girls’ 15th birthdays.
Orellana-Peralta died at the scene. The LAPD’s Police Captain Stacy Spell stated that Orellana-Peralta’s death will be investigated and reviewed by representatives from the Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of the Inspector General.
“Preliminarily, it is believed the victim was struck by a round which skipped off the floor and entered the dressing room wall,” the video said. The police have also clarified that the suspect was not in possession of a gun.
LA residents outraged over police shootings
Los Angelinos, along with the rest of the country, were in an uproar over the young girls tragic passing.
“Nothing has changed,” said Albert Corado to The New York Times, a LA man whose sister was killed by the LAPD in 2018 while she was working at a Trader Joe’s. Corado heavily criticized the police and the media’s relationship to covering such deaths: “It’s all, ‘Spin the narrative and make it so the police don’t have to be held accountable.’”
Corado’s sister, Melyda Corado, was an assistant manager at a Los Angeles Trader Joe’s. She was working one day when a gunman the LAPD was pursuing, Gene Atkins, entered the grocery store.
She was attempting to escape from the store behind Atkins when police open fired on him. She died at the scene.
Corado decided to move back to LA from Minneapolis after the incident and is now running for Los Angeles City Council. He hopes to completely transform the city’s police department:
“I think we need an entire restructuring of the city government,” Corado said to The Times. “If we tally up what the system we have in place now has actually done, it doesn’t address the reasons why people commit crime. It’s not serving anybody but the ultra wealthy.”