R.I.P Valentina

Los Angeles Police Department released the body-camera footage and other details of a shooting by officers that killed a 14-year-old girl who was struck by a stray bullet at a North Hollywood clothing store.

The 14-year-old girl has been identified as Valentina Orellana-Peralta. Her death could have been avoided if the LAPD wasn’t reckless in this incident.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable said in a statement:

“This is only the latest in a continuing series of LAPD shootings of civilians under highly dubious circumstances.”

The officer who fired the shot that killed the teen was paced on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing, police said Friday.

Police were called to the Burlington store at 12121 Victory Blvd., near Laurel Canyon Boulevard, at about 11:45 a.m Thursday after receiving a 911 call from a person who reported hearing shots fired and arguing inside the store, according to the LAPD.

According to police, responding officers found a suspect assaulting a woman inside the store, prompting at least one officer to open fire. The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, was killed in the shooting. The woman he was assaulting was taken to a hospital. LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi said that during a subsequent search, police found a hole in a stretch of drywall that was in front of the officer or officers who opened fire at the suspect.

“We went behind it (the wall), and it turned out to be a dressing room up there,” Choi said. Choi revealed they were able to locate a 14-year-old female who was found deceased in that dressing room. The department believed the officer had shot her. Choi also revealed there was no weapon that was found on the suspect, she’s unclear what prompted the shooting.

The LAPD Family Liaison is working closely with the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez to provide assistance to the 14- year-old girl’s family, a department official said. The department’s Force Investigation Division and Inspector General’s Office were both investigating the shooting, along with the California Department of Justice’s California Police Shooting Investigation Team for Southern California. The DOJ investigates officer shootings under provisions of a bill signed into law last year. Once the investigation has been completed, the results will be turned over to the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division for independent review.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who was out of town with family but briefed on the shooting, said in a statement over the holiday  weekend:

“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,”Moore said.

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,” the chief added.

Moore said he directed critical incident video from the scene to be released by Monday. The release will include 911 calls, radio transmissions, body-worn video and any surveillance video gathered.