The family of a 14-year-old girl shot by police inside the dressing room of a Burlington Coat Factory in California has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department.
Valentina Orellana-Peralta was shopping with her mother for a Christmas outfit when the gunfire erupted on Dec. 23 at a Burlington store in North Hollywood. The shots were fired by Officer William Jones, who at the time was responding to reports of a suspect, later identified as Daniel Elena-Lopez, swinging bike locks at women, leaving a least one of them bloody.
Surveillance footage and body-cam video that has since been released by authorities shows Jones firing three shots in the direction of suspect Elena-Lopez. Police have said one bullet fatally struck the 24-year-old suspect while the other pierced the wall of the dressing room and then hit Orellana-Peralta.
The teen was pronounced dead on the scene.
Her mother, Soledad Peralta, “felt her daughter’s body go limp and watched helplessly as her daughter died while still in her arms,” according to the suit, filed earlier this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The family has alleged the LAPD failed to adequately train and supervise responding officers in addition to fostering “an environment that allowed and permitted this shooting to occur.”
Lopez was also shot and killed by police. According to an autopsy report, he was on methamphetamine at the time of his death.
“Filing this lawsuit is the first step for Soledad and Juan Pablo in seeking the transparency and justice promised to them by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti following the fatal shooting of their daughter, Valentina,” family attorney Rahul Ravipudi said in a statement Tuesday.
“It is their deepest hope that those responsible for her death will be held accountable and that changes will be made to LAPD policies, practices, and standards for using deadly force that will prevent yet another senseless tragedy at the hands of law enforcement.”
With News Wire Services