Body Camera Video Shows LAPD's Fatal Shooting of 14-Year-Old Girl Out Shopping

Police say Valentina Orellana-Peralta was killed by a bullet fired at a man who was attacking women in a North Hollywood store.
Body camera footage shows Los Angeles police fatally shooting Daniel Elena Lopez
Body camera footage shows Los Angeles police fatally shooting Daniel Elena Lopez. Screenshot via LAPD 

Los Angeles police have released body camera footage of the chaotic incident that led to police fatally shooting an innocent teenage bystander at a North Hollywood store last week. 

The body camera footage, along with store video surveillance, shows suspect Daniel Elena Lopez, 24, attacking women before being shot dead by a police officer, who also killed 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta during the Dec. 23 encounter. 

Advertisement

Orellana-Peralta was in a changing room behind Lopez, according to police, who say they believe she was killed by a bullet that “skipped off the floor and entered the dressing room wall.” According to the Washington Post, Orellana-Peralta had been trying on dresses for her quinceañera with her mom when she was shot by police. 

Lopez, who is seen attacking several women at a Burlington clothing store in the footage released Monday, was not carrying a firearm, but a bike lock. 

The shooting has sparked scrutiny and anger as to how often the Los Angeles police use deadly force, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that police shootings increased this year after years of decline. 

“My commitment is to conduct a thorough, complete and transparent investigation into the circumstances that led up to this tragedy and provide the family and public with as much information as possible,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore said in a statement. 

Police said they were called to the store at around 11:45 a.m. Dec. 23, with multiple 911 and radio calls indicating that there was a “possible shooting in progress.” 

Advertisement

In one of the 911 calls, released by police, a woman shouts, “I have a hostile customer in my store attacking customers. He’s breaking things, he’s breaking things.” 

Store surveillance footage shows Lopez walking throughout the store with a cable bike lock slung on his shoulder tackling a female customer taking the escalator and trying to take her bag. According to LAPD spokesman Capt. Stacy Spell, Lopez attempted to grab another woman taking the escalator, but she ran away. Back upstairs, footage shows him grabbing and dragging a different woman on the ground. 

“The suspect approached that female from behind and struck her over the head with the bike lock,” said Spell, in a video explaining the footage released by police. “The suspect grabbed her and dragged her near the dressing room and continued to beat her with the lock.” 

Meanwhile, body camera footage from the officer who appears to have fired the fatal shots shows him pulling up to Burlington’s parking lot, loading a rifle, and entering the store. When he gets to the top of the escalator, he calls for other police officers to make way for him.

“Let me take point with the rifle,” he says. 

Off camera, someone says, “He’s hitting her now.” 

There is a trail of blood in the aisle as the officer holding the rifle continues walking and a woman on the ground comes into view—she appears to have a lot of blood coming from her head. 

Advertisement

The officer holding the rifle fires three rounds down an aisle and Lopez, on the opposite side of the aisle, falls to the ground. 

Several cops move towards Lopez, screaming at him to “get on your fucking stomach.” 

Police said paramedics determined Lopez had died on scene. According to Spell, as police searched for additional suspects and victims, they found Orellana-Peralta and determined she had been shot and killed. According to the LA Times, no gun was recovered from Lopez. 

The California Department of Justice is investigating the incident. 

The officer who fired the fatal shot in on paid leave, according to the Washington Post.

Speaking at a press conference outside the LAPD headquarters Tuesday afternoon, Orellana-Peralta’s parents described their devastating loss—and vowed to get justice for their daughter. 

“She died in my arms and there was nothing I could do,” said the teen’s mother, Soledad Peralta, speaking through attorney Erika Contreras, who acted as a translator. 

“To see a son or daughter die in your arms is one of the greatest pains and most profound pains that any human being can imagine.”

In a statement read by the family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Peralta said she was in the changing room with her daughter when she felt an “explosion” that sent them both to the ground. She said her daughter started having convulsions and then didn’t wake up. 

Advertisement

“The police did not come to help me or my daughter but I kept screaming,” she said via the statement. “They took me out of the dressing room and left my daughter laying there.” 

Orellana-Peralta’s father Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas said he’d been planning to come to LA from Chile to spend Christmas with his daughter. The pair had planned to watch a Lakers game together, he said, adding that his daughter had “great dreams of being an American citizen.” 

He held up a skateboard Orellana-Peralta had purchased for Christmas. 

“He will have to take it to the grave so she can skate with the angels,” said Contreras. 

Crump said he will explain the type of justice the family is seeking in the coming days.

In a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for her funeral, Orellana-Peralta’s cousins said she and her mother left Santiago, Chile “with the goal of a better life in California just months before her death.”

“Our hearts ache at the senselessness of her death.” 

Moore expressed condolences to Orellana-Peralta’s family. 

“This chaotic incident resulting in the death of an innocent child is tragic and devastating for everyone involved. I am profoundly sorry for the loss of this young girl’s life and I know there are no words that can relieve the unimaginable pain for the family,” he said in a statement. 

Advertisement

The LAPD shot and killed another bystander in a 2018 gunfight at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake. Melyda Corado, 27, a manager at the store, was shot by police after rushing to the entrance where a gunman had crashed his car and was exchanging fire with cops. 

In 2020, the Los Angeles County district attorney announced they would not be criminally charging any of the officers in Corado’s death. 

According to the LA Times, Los Angeles police have shot 37 people so far in 2021, killing 17—that’s up from 27 shootings in 2020, with seven of them being fatal. 

This story has been updated to include comment from Orellana-Peralta’s family.