Video to be released; officer on leave

December 27, 2021
Los Angeles Police Department PIO Capt. Stacy Spell, second from left, speaks in a press conference at the scene where two people were struck by gunfire in a shooting at a Burlington store — part of a chain formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.
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The Los Angeles Police Department on Monday was expected to release video and other information about a fatal police shooting last week at a Burlington store that killed a 14-year-old girl and an alleged suspect.

The officer who fired the shot that killed the girl was placed on administrative leave, the department confirmed to USA TODAY.

The male suspect and the girl were the 16th and 17th people shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers in 2021 in what has been a substantial increase in fatal police shootings over the last two years. Los Angeles police fatally shot an 18th person – a man with a knife – late Sunday.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner on Friday identified the girl as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, 14, and ruled her death a homicide by a gunshot wound to the chest.

The male suspect was also killed in the shooting and died by a gunshot wound. The coroner identified him as Daniel Elena Lopez, 24.

The officer on administrative leave has not been publicly identified.

The shooting happened Thursday morning on the second floor of the Burlington clothing store in North Hollywood. Police were responding to a report of someone being assaulted with a deadly weapon and of shots fired with people sheltering in place, Capt. Stacy Spell previously said.

Officers shot at the suspect. The girl was in a changing room with her mother on the other side of a wall that was “directly behind the suspect,” police said in a statement. Officers found her while searching for additional suspects and victims, police said.

‘Devastating’:Coroner identifies 14-year-old girl killed by Los Angeles police in Burlington store

Investigators did not find a gun at the scene but found a “steel or metal cable lock, a very heavy lock” near the suspect that may have been used in the incident, said Dominic Choi, assistant chief, at a press conference last week.

Choi said investigators were trying to determine whether the assault was random or targeted. He said investigators do not believe the teenager was related to the person who was attacked, who was taken to the hospital with injuries to her head, face and arms.

Witnesses told KCBS-TV the suspect began acting erratically inside the store crowded with holiday shoppers, threatened to throw items from the upper floor and attacked a woman with the bicycle lock.

Mayor Eric Garcetti called shooting a “horrible, horrible tragedy,” according to the Los Angeles Times. 

In a statement Friday, Police Chief Michel Moore promised a “thorough, complete and transparent investigation” into the shooting. He said he directed the release of 911 calls, radio transmissions, bodycam video and any CCTV and other evidence by Monday. 

Burlington store shooting:Los Angeles police kill 14-year-old girl while firing at assault suspect

In 2021, Los Angeles police have shot at least 38 people, according to the Los Angeles Times. Officers shot 27 people and killed seven in 2020. In 2019, officers shot 26 people, killing 12. Before the uptick, police shootings reached a 30-year low in 2019 after declining from a high of more than 100 per year in the 1990s.

Albert Corado, who is running for city council, told USA TODAY the shooting reminded him of his sister’s killing in 2018. That July, a man shot his grandmother and girlfriend before leading police on a chase that ended when the suspect crashed his car outside a Trader Joe’s store. The ensuing gunfight killed Melyda Corado, 27, the assistant store manager.

“For what happened to my sister in 2018 to now happen basically in the same way shows they (LAPD) have no desire to change, to have accountability or to look out for the public,” Corado said Monday morning.

When he heard of the Burlington shooting, Corado said he was “transported back” to the day his sister was killed. Corado said he grew up in North Hollywood and used to go to that shopping center with his sister when they were kids.

“My hope for this is that the conversation that should have happened after Mely was killed happens now,” Corado said.

The California Department of Justice is investigating the incident and will turn over its findings to the special prosecutions section for independent review, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Contributing: N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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